What the shaman’s child asked the anthropologist
In your country do you have death?
Or is it only here
that the ones we belong with
become sick-spirited, then lifeless
and once they are planted
are never seen again
but talk to us through my father’s mouth?
We know who is speaking
because their voice sounds the same
the words, the tone,
telling us what to do.
Do you have death like ours –
where you can talk to them
and hear them but never feel their warmth.
Do you have need of healing plants
and are there python and leopard spirits
along the paths. You don’t seem to see them,
Rebecca Gethin has written 5 poetry publications and is a Hawthornden Fellow. Messages was a winner in the Coast to Coast to Coast pamphlet competition. Vanishings is forthcoming from Palewell Press and she will run a short course for Poetry School.