The Ancestors Await: A New Poem

Come out into the garden, someone says.
It’s almost seven and the table is laid.
Yes come. Evening wind is cooling the trees,
and we are here, whispering over the rim. See,

your mother staring out through the eyes of your son.
Your niece hands you a peach with her grandfather’s
hands. And the little ones chase each other just like you
and your brother, only you two had the run of the beach

and the sea. A pair of water babies, your own gran
used to say. Oh, those long days… And the fire by night
and the stories they told. Legends that were old when Solomon
was young. Yes, well. Now, you must eat. Someone passes down

cheese, pours you some juice, wraps a rug round your knees.
Glasses are raised and your skins touch, each to each,
in a word: Cheers! All eyes meet, for a moment uptailing time, 

as we breathe. Then retreat, as we must, on the breeze.

Orna Ross


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