Listen: an afternoon thick with cicadas. Thirsty
air wicking sweat from your back.
Bring a measuring tape
and pay out six feet in the dusty grass―
because it begins with the horn. Ends with it, too.
Lie down beside this imagined horn
that is longer than you. Alive like a tree―
barked and scarred. Living. Believe in it.
Score hoof-prints in the baked clay,
each a three-toed ace of clubs. Rest your heart
in the cradle of one. Feel the rumble
With eyes pressed shut,
sniff acacia leaves, and scat. The donga-whiff
of drying mud. Sun-hot hide
a boulder for your spine―lean into the flank.
There is no flank. Lean against the rubbing-stone
polished through centuries.
Generations of shoulder and haunch.
Seam your cheek to it.
Block your ears to rotor clamour, AK-47s.
The chainsaw. Turn from the convulsing ants.
Sand rich with blood. In the stillness
he tries to stand. Ears twitch at flies.
Listen: in the dried-up riverbed
the wind grieves. Wait for darkness―
What if the only evidence of dark matter
is in its appetites. If it’s the colour of thunder,
storms it’s eaten. Stars.
If people are the colour of river dolphins,
icebergs. Of old-growth forests.
If matter exists until it’s the snuffed candle
of a dark continent.
If hunger feeds on, blindly.
If West African Black. Northern White.
If last horn from the last―
torn from the last―
If the escarpment rears up as herd. As mirage.
What if gone is a museum of stuffed pelt
and glass eyes, but also of silence
Stillness past weighing.
If eustasy is a word we know
without knowing we do. So too: Eremozoic.
If ichnites endure in the dry torrent
of a ravine―but shivering mineral heat
is the only thing moving.
If the earth forgets
the weight that once trembled
veldt grass. If the grass grows tall and craves
the horned shadow
that moved over it. If the sun forgets
the shape of the shadow―