morning at the marina, linen soaked in red wine,
smoking half-smoked things from last night,
watching the tide, bookmarks now driftwood,
thinking of medium roast coffee, sucking at
what remains of the cans, an old boat, the MV erased,
shrimp, bad breath, bodies too close
to each other. a woman walks in from the sea,
she’s in something black –
cloth or skin, there’s no way of telling
from where we are –
when she takes it off,
night again, masquerade again,
seaweed, bass drum, a picnic
blanket, red wine, basket, bread, red and yellow tumblers,
the distant figure of a defunct lighthouse.
we’ve made our home underground
where it floods everyday,
so we cannot keep books here.
that’s okay – they belong on the surface, anyway.
Oh lighthouse – tail end of a sunken figurine.
you ask me to move over.
the woman from the sea, she smiles,
her left hand a dead squid.
she’s writing a thesis on how
maombolezi and majaliwa, in the end,
to those of us who are living dead, are,
as in some cultures, cousins who can marry
as long as the right thing is offered for slaughter,
in this case the the the wax figure of our daughter.
if a thing adept at movement sits still,
still in the sense that
only the right hand is performing
sign language, like a robot dance – is it dead?
this half language, is it dead?
as foreplay, my lover tells me of incest
in the great lakes, then, as reward
sucks the wax off my ears –
this time we will ask for a son.
we make a sacrifice to whatever god is awake.
my lover reads lips, she talks
to the waves and tides, to the young gangster
who collects beach tax,
who takes care of the old man who threatens us with a curse,
although, the journey we have so far made,
knowing that we know nothing of desire,
I’d rather a curse than any kind of map I cannot read.
we listen to The Smiths on something portable,
the tide and the waves, the woman from the sea,
here at the marina, you and i, waiting, your lips unreadable,
thinking of relocating somewhere off Eritrea
to some unknown island of the red sea.