As if you might hold back ocean with a fizzling ring of yourself,
life distils into petrified matter: cabbage, ginger roots,
skeletal fungi moved by the currents like a card trick.
To see the dry bones of you washed in their millions:
job lots of diamonds so brittle and white on the tide-line
at dusk; a horned anemone perched on a rock,
junked mine I had to hold just to ask how it came;
or a can or something stripped of its label
that is lodged in a thicket and turned into you, coral. Ash after fire.
From the house, from the spring-line, from the sugar cane factory
we watch the breaking of colour on a false horizon.
And the noise of you: a canned drone in the sinus,
as if I never stepped out of the plane.
Between the land and the reef there is all that we need.
Edwin’s sparrow-hawk, a luminous globe submersible.
O how small and happy are we in the rising tide how
breathless and tumbling repelled and yet drawn by the reef.
I could keep here forever suspended with my heart
in my mouth and a lungful of sea.
For you are death, the howling of dogs, the noise in the forest.
You are shadow, an island enclosed in a cloak.
An island of slaves who stepped off the rock into open air.