- Devki Panchmatia
The School Orchard & Hieroglyphic Tablet from the Drought
Updated: Sep 11, 2022
THE SCHOOL ORCHARD
In 1897, eighty clergy orphans moved
into this school building. They sat on these
grounds in September, surrounded by the
sweet rot of apples. The crush of photosynthesis.
(My time there was very similar to this.)
Orphan girls loping around crabapples,
severe brick and beams. Sharing the sparse
parentage of trees. Losing them to mould.
Enduring gaps, jealous of spore-prints on logs
and their never-ending memory.
Surely, girls came in pairs back then,
as they did when I was at school.
She and I were an easy match. We both had
dead mothers. Both impatient to assume the world.
We laughed together. Found spore-prints.
I remember her pincering her chewed-up piece of gum
between thumb and forefinger. If you’re really
my best friend, you’ll swallow it. And I did. Because
this is how girls love. They share things
that aren’t for sharing.
HIEROGLYPHIC TABLET FROM THE DROUGHT
vulture hand reeds owl
shin -ing black water
scarab big black ankh
stone wall burden -ed
with thirst hot reeds
gasping dry field grass
the serpent has wanted
this for years my
home is ash soon
this stone will be
the only proof of
our thirst our thirst
will out -live us
let us carve water