I pass through strange lands with creatures for
- Robert Desnos, from ‘Sleep Spaces’
As I hike through the Gobi desert on top of the sideboard,
all round the skyline are mounted photographs of family,
their tops streaked with snow.
The three white leopards nudge me back to my feet each
time I lie down to rest.
I wade through the shallow waters of the Bosphorus,
a giant black beetle carrying my valise, my specimen
jars, my killing jars,
my inventory of red cars.
My sandals have rotted from my feet, eaten by tears.
In Arabia, golden birds apply pink Zam-buk ointment
to my blisters.
Letters from the Panacea Society comfort me. I am given
a new calendar
with important appointments already marked for me clearly
Maybe now my life will become orderly as Romans.
At the gates of China I am allowed to sleep for two
to get back my dreams and my shining metal name.
A circle of frogs sing to me of transformation.
Seabirds teach me their seven languages.
Where black Africa becomes Australian ochre
my body withers to a white leaf and crumbles to dust,
blown off by the hot wind.
In my dream two nameless stones welcome me to their
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