In the first week the saints will be available
only a little at a time. They will be busy
learning the names of things. Two or three
may attend memorials in their honour, but
you need to know you cannot count on this.
In the second week the saints will find heaven
heavy with rain as if they sat day after day
at the cyclone’s fringe. They will not yet
know that this is grace and may try to return.
Do not drag them back with your prayers.
In the third week they will begin to forget
that heaven and earth were separated once.
They will spend all night and half the day
enthralled with the songs of frogs. If you make
your prayers amphibious, they may hear you.
But if, at the end of the third week, you drag
them back, you will see in their eyes they are
not yours. To keep them, you will need to feed
them cheese and bread, toast and jam, lentils
with brown rice, carrots and apples, a daily
bread in season. You will need to show them
things whose names heaven has not learnt:
the coastal banksia’s bent answer to a place,
its shape against the sky. With spikes of
blossom you will pin them to your prayers.
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