ancestral obligations

for now
birds still sing
the evening,
while somewhere in the house
there is ukulele and talk,
and the steady knife to board
rhythm of chopping vegetables

(but out there –
out there the streets have turned to silence,
there is pause and breath and wait –
and all the sanitiser in the world
is not going to wash our hands
of this, because we knew
and we knew
there was bound to be a reckoning)

and it all
always happens
in the kitchen,
the eating of the earth
and the stories
that taste of soil,
where the door
has been left ajar
showing the shadowy stairs
to the underworld
where the old myths
have been keeping pace with us
all along – black dogs with pink tongues
lolloping beside us
for thousands of years,
waiting for this silence
and our courage
to accept the task.





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