Sunset in the Desert
Sunrise in the desert and you’re here again.
A shaman in dusty trainers,
your soles held on with Sellotape.
You told us, many times,
this is how we die:
longing for the flood.
How many times we laughed.
How many times you didn’t.
To be polite, this time
I offer you a mattress on the floor,
a chair by the window,
a cup of tea
but you let these grow cold
claiming you cannot stop.
Claiming you must keep moving
like a shark that would drown
if it stopped swimming.
I don’t see a shark when I look at you,
I see a tumbleweed
drifting over the dry riverbed.
Night falls and you step into the dreaming.
You claim to be drowning in our town
like a fish in a dry Tupperware box.
I do not know if we’ll see you again,
but if we do
and your tune is the same
our ears will be deaf to it
but for the children whose words,
unformed, cannot support you.
When you fade into the horizon for the last time
like a mirage,
the only water will be in your canteen,
your blood, your vital fluids
and my tears as I recognise this for what it is.
But tears are undrinkable
and I am a shark
that has stopped swimming.