In the hills of the Island of Pumpkins
I go walking.
The sun burns
my white skin. I am carrying
mixed currencies. A business card.
A bag of cold blood oranges
bought cheap on the mainland.
Here it is the seventh week of drought
since the end of the season of rain.
Around my feet are pumpkin vines
making yokes and watchsprings,
searching for water
in the hot dust.
I came here looking for something,
a guidebook view of hills,
a phrasebook sound of gulls.
Something still alien.
Above the roof-trees and axle-trees
of locked cars and fishing huts
there is nothing except fields,
green bowls cupped
against green bowls
and a tractor leant sideways,
catching the sun
in its broken glasshouse.
I walk until the road is gone,
down to asphalt and rice-flats.
The easternmost point
of an easternmost island
is a scurry of dust and the mad
flat light of sea and salt,
a far view of the docks
where men stand under shade or
knuckle down by a tyre-stay.
The sound of them comes later,
carried and dropped and then picked back
up over the fields of pumpkins -
laughter, a joke. A language
with no words for miss.
a tongue where I am not run dry.
Here I am surface-muck. I miss
place-names familiar as salt,
and the dialect of rush-hours -
a klaxon slurs once and waits
over the tar-top offices
of Fast Car Ferries Inc.
I listen to the yell and clank
of men unloading greenhouse glass
and blocks of ice in plastic green
as pumpkin skin wiped damp and clean -
and what I see is what I miss;
watching late trains cross
the bridge, the river. Faces pressed
up against the glass. The night
falling on the homes and the homeless.Reuse content