So in this tilted alleyway
that roll in debris to the sea
I kick my way among the wealth
of fish smells, fish bones,
to my father’s home. Around me,
children’s feet still walk to school
with swinging bag and nothing more.
No face, no feature scrawled
upon the whirling disc
the needle gnawing into grooves of flesh and time.
Hot airless evening and the night of dogs
the howling morning sun, prowling
among the rock and fowls.
The world for us was billy-
goat smell dying on the wall;
was desks and benches regularly scrubbed
and scrapped; was rags
wrapped tight to make a cricket ball;
the pain of waiting for the whip rope
tamarind lash, hurled by the thick
necked sweating God who ruled
our little school. We called these things
an elementary School:
Head Heart and Hand
the motto, and the the R’s
taught: Reading, a little Riting,
and some Rural lust:
the immemorial legacies of dust.
And with his nerve scraped white
like Spanish Nettle
noise worries him.