Somewhere between the thought and the thinking, I breathe
the warming air as first light inches
across the widening sky.
My narrow night cell is lifting, but my mind
hangs back, flocked with images
still lingering in the moonlight
thread of dream-thought,
foreign trees rustling layers of shadows,
Iím cycling over roots, around branches,
vision expanding into these many hues
of darkness, Iím running now, my skin prickles,
Iím dodging here, there, fluid steps, ducking . . .
But scrawny roosters peck and screech,
jar me, pull me out . . . this creaking bed, the palms
clacking outside, an insect raps the hutís wall,
and falls. My body stretches, rustling,
and Iím back, dwelling in this unknown country again.
I want to be here only, in this hut, with these yellowing
bamboo walls, in this dusty village,
this tingling of skin, as last nightís breezes
lift like a flock of unknown
birds, these rutted rough and soft fields, this air
so damp my lungs have learned a new breathing Ė
but I pause between thoughts to find still
that longing for the familiar, eyeing the new with the old
yardstick, identifying by not and like; for old
comforts between new; for this friendís
uproarious laugh, for the fur
of my cat against my leg. We recreate
our home around us as we go,
unless I can stand here in the warming tropical sunlight
without thoughts to take me elsewhere,
just skin and sweat and ribs moving
like the Brahmin cow switching its scratchy
tail against its leg
or the fly hunkered in ecstasy on its bony neck.
Copyright © 2002 Jill McGrath. All Rights Reserved.