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DAEL ALLISON
         Contained by Nias
I am contained by fever, contained by Nias
contained by an island coast
that spews tsunamis
by earth
that wantonly self destructs.
 
I am contained by noise
contained by endless roosters crowing
by the cardinal call of geckos
contained by the staccato fart of motorbikes
kicked alive below my window
to ratchet down the broken hill
contained by the shock-squeal of a pig
violated
and the slow progress of its dying
I am contained by the chorus of dog bark
and by one that yelps a frenzy
as though caged
or constantly beaten
or prodded into fear
Wondering if the dog is caged
to be eaten
is part of my containment
 
I am contained by the decomposing
of garbage
and the threnody of rot
drifting through the window
 
I am contained by dull thudding
as a man breaks
an hour of sticks by hand
by the metronome drone
of a timber planer
sloughing the skin
of jungle pillage
 
I am contained by head hammer
Speculation on how fast I could crawl
from this fly-zipped-dome/
room/building
if the quaking earth decides
to reprise
the death throes
of a year ago
and walls start falling
 
I am contained by a child’s
falsetto song
in thickening dusk
I am contained, when night blots the window frame.
by a melancholy guitar
and the yearning harmonic
of lover’s voices

 

DALE ALLISON

           Feri’s Kite

Mother do you remember the day
you handed me the kite? Not my first kite,
 
but one of many in my fifteen years of March,
the ecstatic windy month. This kite your last
 
gift, and the one that I loved best, although
I lost it. Not one I’d wrapped and tied
 
from sticks and torn green plastic, this new kite
was gold and blue, and in the village sky
 
my kite was the one that caught the sun,
rising and rising, surpassing hawks and eagles.
 
But then the wind came to fight me
and although I hauled and hauled
 
and used my wits to spill
the savage twisting of the air
 
the twine that sawed my hands
to pulp was snapped in two.
 
Still the kite flew, bucking
and raveling through deep blue
 
until it found a place of steady grace.
You stood beside me, on your face
 
the story of what was lost and what
the saving for your love had cost.
 
That night the kite was in my dream,
I fought again the wind
 
until the screaming jerked me
from my sleep and the buckling twist
 
of floor and earth was our island lifting.
It was your kite that pulled me
 
free to open air. In darkness I helped
my father pull away the fallen beams;
 
by dawn our hearts were dust.
Mother, I have spent a year of dreams
 
and in each rise and lurching heave
you are my kite, your stories are not
 
stolen with your face, instead the grace
of rising, rising. And my twine holds true.

 

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