Thursday, December 20, 2007

Patricia Prime: FOLLOW THE LINE

He stands outside the small white church his great-granduncle built, talking to the vicar about the cost of renovation. Inside floors and pews smell of old polish. Each kneeler is hand-embroidered. Banners behind the altar in English and Maori depict Russell’s significance as one of the first places in New Zealand to receive the Bible in Maori. I hear you breathing. There is a stir of dust behind the photographs. The stone steps to the door are whitewashed and worn down. Gravestones disintegrate. Here in the summer light stone lilies and angel's wings hold the heat. We turn aside to photograph each other against the sundial and the gate. We will send a photo to an old friend of ours who was once a vicar here. Sunset draws the evening in and colours diminish leaving us cold.

sailor’s plot
his name
barely legible

by Patricia Prime
Auckland, New Zealand
first published in Contemporary Haibun Online, V3, N3, Sept. 2007

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