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Steve Isham

Second Prize 2006 Novice Christian Poetry Contest $300

Steve Isham taught high school art for a number of years. He now illustrates and publishes books for children in collaboration with his wife, Marion. Their business name is Bandicoot Books. Titles include Tiger Tale, Tasmanian Traveller and Draw Aussie Animals. He lives in Tasmania, Australia and fellowships at Margate Christian Church, which has Plymouth Brethren roots.

Cain's Altar

Cain, arms strong as pillars
piles a cube house of stones, windowless
and strews his cumin and lentils
where the sickle moon glints
in his cold eye. Cain kisses stone.

Abel, unable to build anything much,
signals his smoke, pleading
to a broad glory box above.
Gets a jasper visitation
cube bright as blazes, brimming
large, sun dimming
sky burst of crystal diffusion.

Cain hates his brother
for his Big Light favour and kills
blood upon red blood
and goes saddled into the world
with sword like a moon, scything,
catching his harvest back
to the blackened cube, multitudes
circling, circling, kissing the stone.

Copyright 2006 Steve Isham