Landscape

I

M. assures me she'll be back
to fling my ashes in the local creek.
(We're short on sacred rivers here).

The pungent air will suit my soul:
It will find its place among
the plastic carrier bags and rags that float upstream
or is it downstream.
One can never tell.
The sea sends everything reeling back.
The trees go under.

II

We push so much under the carpet —
the carpet's now a landscape.
A worm embedded in each tuft
There's a forest moving.

Everybody smiles
and smiles.

III

The crows will never learn
there is garbage enough for everyone:
the mouths of the young are raw red,
soundless.

The egret alights on the topmost branch.
Not a leaf is disturbed.
On all sides the ocean.

IV

stretch marks of the city

Look the other way:
There are dhows there
mud banks
white horses for desert kingdoms

an old monkey coughs in a tree

the young sense food
begin their walk up the hill
slow sure unceasing

we lock the windows
bar the doors

the sun burns through the walls
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