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One son, and then two brothers,
a third, a fourth and a half-brother,
two sisters as glue amongst them
and migrations, departures, arrivals
beginning in a new world
and the calling forth of children
to carry forward the being,
the telling, the name.
The calling forth of children
and among them two sons
born in Egypt
and a third born in Australia
and from the two sons
and one son, golden, kind,
gentle, funny, the halo
around his head
not enough to protect him.
The world is full of absences
into which we pour
the endless torrent of our grief,
not assuaged in the pouring
without the life rafts of kin,
all those who let us cling.
In the raw wound of his absence
I turned to two men,
one a gardener, one a geologist become teacher,
one from Australia, one from Wales,
and later, a third man, a fitter and turner
from a Greek Island,
a fourth, an Australian teacher
and a fifth, a German migrant,
and knowing not how to do it
we built a space, where we opened
the lush gardens of our hearts
and walked each other through.
And I, the third son,
the one born in Australia, childless then,
conscious of the weight of expectation,
the long shadow of history,
the passing of all things.
Five brothers including the half-brother
and then four, three, two
and then the last of them, my father
and he and I and my two cousins
meeting for coffee,
speaking of this,
the many become the few
and after that, my father,
gone the way of his brothers.
Into the lush gardens of their hearts
they took me,
gardens of unexpected flowerings
amid bracken and tangles of vines,
gardens where the soil has been laid bare
and seeds planted,
where I am welcome to roam and return.
And then, years later, two daughters
and another child, my son, to carry forward
the being, the telling, the name,
or none of these
but simply to be himself,
his own light shining into the future.
Copyright 2021 David Adès
David Adès is the author of Mapping the World (Friendly Street Poets / Wakefield Press, 2008). He lives in Australia.