Ingrained Lines


Black, glass beads; multi faceted,
sand grained eyes
form a long orderly line,
entwining and bathing
in the sweat of each desperate palm –
desperate for a sign –
something to show for all of the prayers,
waiting for life to be made
better – as if it would in a miracle because
of the pressed flat lines of their upturned hands.
Impressions made by the hollow beads entangled
in grasping, cloying fingers squeeze
out any chance – unless, of course,
they were to repent.

Footfalls swell a cavernous stone recess,
where amber grained benches
bare traces of those lost souls that now hover
above flickering, desperate candles; as desperate
and as lacking as the living ghosts who pass by
to send a thought, a wish and a prayer;
pouring token gestures of insincerity
from salved consciences into tin cups –
parallels are drawn from the rattling
of coffers filled to the brim, but empty
on fulfilment.

The women, dressed in black,
wear tested shawls – the condition
of which belies their own threadbare, cracked
and weather worn exterior.
They kneel their creaking bones long since
spent, hungry for rejuvenating words –
but after hollow worship and appeasement –
none are given, none will come –
except for those He sees.

Her devout, brittle frame is crucified
on bent knees in her hour of need,
yet she asks for nothing and offers herself
completely. The last of daylight
beams through heavy stained glass jewels
through the connective
nervure of lead and illuminates this wilted
flower. His elongated, pained arms free
themselves from the broad beams of his fight
to gently touch her opaque, watery darkness.
Despite His weary limbs – bleached white from tears –
he is forgiving of the ravenous hoards sat before him,
but he cups her face – and for her,
tender are His mighty thorns of fear.