Jill McGrath





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.

Back Home Next