In the crumbling church
there’s a bone of a saint
the Romans boiled in olive oil.
A coat hanger is a deformed cross
that has outlived the golden vestments
of the priests.
In her office on the hill
the virgin’s ears intact in fake fur.
She’ll stare forever
at the very same stars that wheel above
the world of the true night.
A forgotten swamp’s refilled
to the level of the recalled banks
and the swifts return each dusk
to the paper map spread out
candlelit, and illumined as their valley.
Adam Aitken’s memoir One Hundred Letters Home (Vagabond Press) appeared in 2016. Archipelago was shortlisted for the Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry and the Prime Minister’s Literature Prize in 2018.