Sand and mud,

sea water and volcanic ash

have claimed my streets

and my woman.

Even in her cleanest places

pips of sand invade,

and I must run

a fine toothed comb

across her vulva,

across her armpit.

City of sand

tears at my soles when I walk,

and the dirt and the chairs

and the billboards

of the young women

cling to me

where my hair once was.

Monstrous boys approach me,

dripping with water.

The water goes to the earth

in heavy clots

and leaves behind a face

of pumice.

I look away

and women heave past me,

smeared with makeup,

which leeches and

infects my city.

And they’re too young to be dead,

but the sand and the rust,

the loneliness of space

has stuck in their pores

and they’re old

and terrified at twenty one.

Take my city

to the dry cleaners.

Wash it, press it, fumigate it,

until there’s only

the floating fluff

and the white faces

of the bakers

in the pure fragrant morning.

Take my woman

to the beauty parlor,

tie her up, powder her,

make sure she

never grows old.

This sand and volcanic ash

clings to me,

and washes me for death.


Copyright Ricky Barrow 2014

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