Blackbox Manifold

Issue 10: Kerrin P. Sharpe

they try to return to paradise

they try to return to paradise

as pilgrims and move gin-clear water

with scallop shells to open

the small intestine of the Mass

the priest seems wingless

when the fishing is good

some pilgrims get lost

in the mountains to hide

their ashes or cut expensive labels

off their robes to improve conditions

others attach oars and lanterns

to stolen coffins

to confirm their arrival

as pilgrims you will be given

as pilgrims you will be given

3 days’ notice of miracles

certain free gifts

include the chance

to see wrong

in the village

the praying Moor

is already fasting

he has the ear of a rabbit

and the base of a bird

reverse fold your hands

like this or this

to receive your travel instructions

the godwits’s son

left the world

in a feather bag

he left his cottage

his horse at the window

the warm wishes of snow

he left chimneys of willow

the dark voices

of dry stone flagstone

he left his mother

the whiskey maker

unable to drink

and with hundreds of others

slept as he flew

and flew as he slept

to where he was

Kerrin is a poet and teacher of creative writing. She completed the Victoria University Original Composition Programme taught by Bill Manhire in 1976. Her poems have appeared in many journals including Hue & Cry, JAAM, The Listener, Poetry NZ, Sport, Takahe, Turbine, The London Grip, Snorkel and The Press, as well as Best NZ Poems 08, 09, 10 and 12, and in The Best of the Best New Zealand Poems. In 2008 she was awarded the New Zealand Post Creative Writing Teachers’ award from the Institute of Modern Letters. Her debut poetry collection three days in a wishing well was published by Victoria University Press in 2012. A selection of her poems will appear in Oxford Poets 2013 from Carcanet Press later this year.]