Earth Dreams


But a mermaid has no tears

and, therefore, suffers so much more.

Hans Christian Andersen


All night I dreamt of land. Of soil

crumbling through my fingers to leave

black parings under broken nails,


of fields spread with dung and that melancholy

light of autumn, the colours of clay and fire,

where morning has a yellow tongue.


Could I exist in air?

In this oceanic deep you lie embedded

in the womb of my heart,


attached by an umbilicus of longing,

my aqueous nightgown transparent

as air.


I don’t even know who this you is.

Though I’ve pictured your all too human body

naked on my bed of cowrie shells,


visualised our house of cloth and tar,

ash walls mortared with the glue

of boiled fish bones.


Water accepts everything,

even the misshapen.

Over and over I’ve tried to imagine


a need for balance,

that slow steadying of the inner ear,

metatarsals pushing into solid ground.


Yet though I wait and wait

time returns me only to myself

as night to morning,


as sea to the shore,

so, where your voice

should be, there is only silence.




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