A Routine.

Skin’s crawling, the edge of square roofs glowing
with a cold sweat,
eyes are sharper at the crack of a brown dawn.
Dogs own dominion
in fish markets that smell of yesterday.

Their lives and mine are perfect
by the all too human reckoning
of a life’s worth calculated by wants supplied.

A lone cyclist pedals a basket of dew-drenched vegetables
to his usual earthen haunt and tarpaulin,
swerving around the territorial pack
as they change course, trot over and throng me
muddy paws on the best clothes I own,
breath smoking in the dry chill,
I buy myself a pack as the cigarette vendor
unpacks his wares out of damp sacks,
it is a miracle that my breath does not catch fire
or that my eyes have not turned into cotton-balls.

Yet another stranger has brought me home
to the sputter of a third-world petrol engine.
He gets his fare, it’s only fair,
and I’m just glad that I will sleep,
I have nowhere to be in the morning,
I have adventured and now
I am tired and there is a yawning hole
that I slip into without knowing.

It is warm at last,
I cradle my head with the soft side of one hand,
as if it were mother’s,
and this is well, for as things stand,
my dreams welcome me in
and their characters are so familiar,
that I may have just woken up
from a foggy, unmemorable dream
into childhood clear and real.


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