by Theophilus Kwek

Gong-gong, 1936-2015.

You met us again in the outer room.
White bone in miniature, glazed earth
parting the skull’s cracked continents.

With love’s red cloth covering the bowl,
we lined up one by one to send you home.
A pair of hands took each broken part

and joined it with the others in the pile
so the pieces belonged as they were laid,
sternum, tibia, pelvis, patella

nook to nook, against the plain design.
In cupped fingers we scooped the fire-
tempered sand, a cloud of chalk

over the precious hill. You said nothing,
content that we should have our ways of loss,
our sifted, falling silences, the plunge

of numbed hands under frigid water.
Teach me now to love, at their frayed ends
the left-behind, their washed and ashen fingers.



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