Blackbox Manifold

Issue 13: Kerrin Sharpe

the stars are the tongues of their shoes

                                         i.m. marc and eddy verbessem deaf twins 

                                         who chose death over blindness

the stars are the tongues of their shoes

and guide marc and eddy to a pasture

where they work as cobblers

and make sanctuary slippers

from the hair of premature calves

for angels only lent the silence

suits them their soft faced hammers

do the talking their stitches are never

angry though they use cross and

long armed cross they choose

the winnowing fork  and line the threshing floor

with the leather of lamb

to rescue and repair

6,000,000 jewish shoes

so they still walk

their never forgotten song

because the horse expected nothing

because the horse

expected nothing

he was never spared

          Flanders        Somme        Passchendaele

because the horse

never objected

he never bothered

          flies        mud        snow

because the horse

never wore hair extensions

he never groomed

          the guns        the maps        the strategies

because the horse

never saw a cenotaph

he never knew the soldiers

          inside        his stone        coat

when the train stole us

our brother was still born

he was never the light foot

of snow but the dark cry

of rolling stock frankfurt

hamburg nedland lloyd

our suitcases grew the teeth

of an ss bank account

our hair became rope

even our shoes were forced

to dig mass graves

before they were shot

the stars folded our jackets

after we fell

the sound was yellow

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, Best NZ Poems 08, 09, 10 and 12, and 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 late 2012. A selection of her poems appeared in Oxford Poets 2013 published by Carcanet Press. Three poems were published in Blackbox Manifold 10. Kerrin’s second collection of poetry, there’s a medical name for this,was published by Victoria University Press in 2014.