Talaleu was the fearless goddess who wrangled flesh and air,
Willing me into existence.
Healthy yet homeless, I spent twenty-eight days trawling the island,
Mingling with new hosts
Ready for a new path.
With a smile to level mountains, Talaleu ensured my safety,
Wrapped me up and offered me outward,
To find another home
Across many seas.
Jennifer saw my hands reaching
Fingers fumbling, desperate and curious,
Heart open, arms outstretched.
She received the signal I was sending,
The signal others were boosting on my behalf.
She was ready to love,
I was ready for a mother’s embrace
Underneath waterfalls, inside classrooms
Touching minds forever.
Wendy showed me a heart, distant yet so close
Way out west, nearing the border
Her surly progeny would bind wrists with mine
At least for a few years.
When the dust settled on a new decade
We decided to unbind and keep walking,
Not the elusive forever-after we’d heard about
But Wendy did indeed raise a fierce warrior
Who is now raising her own.
Judith helped keep my rudder straight, though flounder it would,
She shared her heart regardless.
With father’s hand in hers, she stood, galvanised
Helped me understand the unknown
That the unknown could be positive.
Living in an apartment they lovingly called the Shoebox,
Until they could afford to purchase the Shoe Shop
Judith kept us grounded
And welcomed Jennifer as a partner in wine.
Denise gave more love than most only dream of
And from a vessel unfairly wearied
She emerges as queen
Battered from years in the cellular jungle.
Still, she smiles, resolute and brilliant,
With a handle we can all hold onto
As we drift past the break, towards the unknown.
She passed down the same open heart
To help her daughters to navigate a fractured world.
Rose showed me a version of myself that existed in another space and time
Behind security doors, carefully locked and checked
Stockton; A scary satellite of a city.
Bankrupt and broken, it still found love to show me,
Among the peaks and troughs, a brother’s grave
Never met, gunned down, buried modestly
Protector of my four long lost paternal siblings
Rose speaks of Talaleu
Talaleu speaks of Jennifer
Jennifer speaks of Wendy
Wendy speaks of Judith
Judith speaks of Denise
And I am the luckiest man in the world.