by Jan Iwaszkiewicz


In that moment,
after all the glory and bliss,
when we meet, chest to chest,
and grapple in twilight
with voices thickened by sap,

that moment,
before the cords are severed
and we are left mewling, blind,
with bodies quickened by death,
will you know me brother?

...and when a stone holds no weight,
in that breath
between a stone risen
and a stone fallen,
will you know me then?

Will our stars be set?


....after Cain, Eve
continued to give birth
until the first victim
squirmed on the Earth.


My hand
once held a stone
that was harder than hate,
its scalloped edge was knapped to rip
your flesh.

scalded my lips.
I sang you songs of death.
Yet now, I kneel down beside you
to taste

the wounds
that are your head,
to give my heat to you,
to sing no hate, to use no stone.
I sound

my heart
and I wonder
why we shared a mother?
When you were not at all like me.


...and at the edge of the field
God appeared suddenly to Cain

‘Lord.’ said Cain
‘Let me take breath.
Yours is always the first of all.
As you see, I still try.
Although this smoke is acrid to the eye and lung
its smell is sweet.

I am not able to offer you anything
better than my brother
but unfortunately,’ smiled Cain
‘I am not my brother’s keeper

or I would send him up to you.’