IV. A WHOLE NEW COLOUR

Ham_curse

Ivan Ksenofontov. The Damnation of Ham

          He shall be his brothers’
meanest slave.
— Genesis 9:25

I walked in,
and there he was: confused,
loaded again,
tipping the bottle
like a sentinel trumpet.

Not that there was any blame.
It was dark and it had
been raining for weeks.
The grey placed sand
under my skin.
The lack of sun
gave me
a whole new colour.

I don’t know why he stripped —
maybe his clothes were soiled,
maybe the wine made him hot —
but there he was,
in all his greying glory.
I had to call my brothers
to help me clean him up.

Just like before,
he started to rage:
screaming that
his no-good sons
shouldn’t look at him that way.

My brothers turned their backs
as I tried to calm him down.

I scrubbed him,
cleaned his clothes,
brought him food and water
to settle his stomach and
clear his head.

And that’s how it started:

when he woke,
his head splitting,
all he could remember was
fighting and rage.

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