In these sands small fingers dance & sift, dexterous
amid the mines to scoop, each some strange hybrid squash
of metal & hopefully now no sparks for the collecting basket,
the subsisting thrift in that scrap exchange
bringing sustenance of sorts to lips of couscous.
Night’s are a tin sky of corrugated stars,
nights, & if there is a roof to lie under,
it is hard & makeshift as the rust of a tank
or that lean-to propped from a jeep’s hood
shiny with flares overhead.
Here is a metaphor in which to make one’s self prostrate
as though for the holiness of cleaning,
the prayers of knees on a swept-bare floor.
Here is a larger energy to conceive.
Here is the universe & is its maker compassionate with intelligence
or detached from passion, & mathematical as an invisible lab
no science has measured yet?
In the future will the mannequins of museums
be in mall tableaus & office cubicles with computer partitions
between mosques & scenes of children on every screen
What moral indifference is the lesson inherited then?
What legacy for the generations should there indeed
be no heaven & no other immortality to pass on as a blessing
than this, our planet, this, our sacred earth?
Stephen Mead is an Outsider multi-media artist and writer. Since the 1990s he’s been grateful to many editors for publishing his work in print zines and eventually online. He is also grateful to have managed to keep various day jobs for the Health Insurance. Currently he is resident artist/curator for The Chroma Museum, artistic renderings of LGBTQI historical figures, organizations and allies predominantly before Stonewall, https://thestephenmeadchromamuseum.weebly.com/