By Delores Gauntlett

It happened. Why not to you instead? you've asked
of nothing that answers back; no gesture from the hand
of chance to stop the source of that coincidence.
Alone with others, dodging the worn-out question
How are you feeling?, barely holding yourself together,
knowing you are not dreaming: there lies the child.
The damp handkerchief like a stone in your fist,
you kneel for the Lord's prayer, losing a line or two,
waiting for some kind muse to resurrect the past,
as when an echo returns from the deeper woods.

You are still here, because on that October day
when the clock stopped like a comma (with nothing else besides),
when its coil unwound, and the world was an open wound,
you faced, as on a fast-moving train
the path on which you were heading, watching the rest rewind.
Still here, because you cannot read the future
in the back of a mirror; because the hills won't yield;
because the night is dark, though the moon scythes
shadows into the trackless woods; and we live to learn
that the time we'd like it to be is always overrun
by the time it is.


I am 53 years old, living in Jamaica West Indies, started writing poetry ten years ago. I have one published book of poetry: "Freeing Her Hands To Clap", 2001; which, while it was a manuscript-in-progress, was a finalist in the University of Wisconsin Press poetry series 1999 competition, and also won a national prize.


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