dash

labyrinths

This begins at the bus stop beside an elderly Afghan asylum seeker talking about Jorge Luis Borges

 
when he points to the book in my pocket,  
So, do you say well about Borges?
I say, Donít know, Iíve just bought it
so havenít yet read what he thinks about  
anything. And he grins, says, He died in exile,
a Christian Argentinian. Iím Muslim.  
 
Then he slowly speaks the title, LabyrinthÖ
So, please, what does that word mean for him?
Again I shrug, say, No idea, then pause, yet.
I know he could, he continues, recite Anglo Saxon.
I may learn it after I can speak todayís words well.
Like him, say aloud, The Dream Of The Rood.  
I nod. He nods. We pause. We smile,  
 
and even though Borges is buried in Geneva heís not
beyond being stood alongside each of us now
while he, himself, tries to recall whatís inside the covers
much like any writer does when he gets as old
as the black and white photograph shown on the back.
 
I fumble for my bus pass, say, Good to meet you,
then, when on board, sit, open it, start to read
with Borges leaning forward on the seat behind
and also stood next to him at the bus stop -
they both wave - I and my Borges wave back,
and on the pages I turn find heís there too
as, with silence, this is where I begin.

Bob Cooper

If you have any thoughts on this poem,  Bob Cooper would be pleased to hear them.


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