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Dave Yallop

Gathering Hands

I found last year's register
the other day,
once used with biblical trust.
I scanned the names
pausing to hear each response
for the class to reassert its presence
as I wait.
My voice gathers them to a point
of readiness
as two latecomers bumble
into a slight quiet.
Then it's a mop-fair
of pencils, sharpeners
treasured rubbers,
they settle to the task
as I move amongst them.
The sun pours into the room
a boys washes his fingers in the stream of light.

On the back wall
hang rainbow hand-prints.
They press palms into the ink
flatten them onto paper,
fine-grain signatures
rising in a flock of pleading
reaching out in flight
measuring the limits of their grasp,
as in a cave
spanning and holding space
nets of fingers touch
a new breath rises
as we assemble
the light discovers one by one
voices of colour,
we are all present.