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Sport 40: 2012


page 181


the calamity of rain at three in the afternoon · the vertical
plunge of the sea · and the ravenala’s fan like a bucket-wheel
scooping the surf in vain · the wind barks its mangled
commands for a while in the mud-soaked fields of beat
but then comes the hail bursting out of the coffee-marbled
clouds and dashing against the glass · the evening heat
dams up and sparks indoors while the cyclone heads
north · mildew and peeling lime on the walls · i spread
my legs and sweat out the beer and quinine tablets
the humidity making it hard to swallow body motionless
on torn sheets · hanging from the roof clusters of red
lychees bend and break at every gust · images of a lost
continent: gondwana before the landmasses drift apart and the vast
earth beneath the sky · to overcome its inertia
and find in the teeth of these things and forces some boundary
language reinvents them as stories: shipwrecks and slavery
captains bug-hunters and geographers’ paraphernalia
the romance of khaki · yet the rainy season’s torpor
defeats such heroic figures · the nights here are starless
the mosquitoes won’t let up · loneliness eats the soul
and only the ravenala defies the jungle · from afar
the silhouette of its signal arm tops the hill
able to telegraph nothing but its own name: the travellers’
tree · the drought collects water in the bush · at the base
of its leaves where they scar the trunk it forms a well

                                    brickaville, 7. 12 . 96