Dust and clay

Jasmine Soukieh is a Canberra-born and raised Lebanese-Australian, currently spending her days between New Zealand, Lebanon and Australia while she pursues a doctorate in nutritional sciences.  She is one of the Founding Co-editors of be:longing.

He couldn’t return to die where he’d wanted
His body had stranded his spirit
They called it: now he was more one than the other
How long since he’d come and stayed?
His nerve ends were reaching
And prickling him where he lay
Their calling to action was met with the mantra
That ‘dust was just dust and clay was just clay’

He wouldn’t get back to see the apartment
Or pass through the gate to the garden
To inspect the trashing; admonish the vandals;
To wave the wild cats away
He wouldn’t be put
To rest with his parents 
Nowhere his sister could pray
Still he could try soothe his heartache with the mantra
That ‘dust was just dust and clay was just clay’

No doctor or nurse had seemed quite so foreign
As those at his hospital deathbed
He’d wanted to die somewhere they knew his hometown
Somewhere they knew what to say
To traverse the gulf
Without transposition;
Have some bit of fear allayed;
To mention his god, and help bury the mantra
That ‘dust is just dust and clay is just clay’.

© Jasmine Soukieh, 2022