if I’m to rely on memory, my country, you say,

is in the north – you are not sure.

(a woman cleans the rooms at the back,

her Swahili less laboured than mine,

her answer to my imposition a nod of the head

and a return to duty, as if she’s known

many more travellers like myself.

some music from somewhere dark, something

with its own rules and guides for memory-


if I’m to rely on movement, the plastic flower

in my motel room

will remain a thing of beauty. &

I will stay here, with the dead TV,

the hood of a lamp, the half curtain,

the simple joys of the coming days,

– I’ll make reliable lists from memory.

until you find me.

alone like this, with the body –

how also the map is torn in so many places

unwinding it is – or becomes – an act of grace –

something I’m incapable of.


where does the body curve upwards, where down, where

does it say, or intend to say, this is hardness,

and this is the place you are not allowed to touch.


if you don’t know a thing to the absolute end of its meaning,

and let’s assume there a thing as that, the absoluteness,

like the texture of stone, the smell of sun in your unwashed hair –

does this count as memory?

like fucking in the dark, the difficulty of getting in,

which I hope has no meaning, and

the difficulty of rhythm            and pace,          even tone, and the lying

down afterwards, the closing of one pair of eyes and

the wondering in the dark of the other pair, head

tilted to where the window might be.


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