andalouse red, the red
of red-brick mansion flats
and London was silent as it is in August
waiting for the Wolf’s moon,
you found a beetle quite lifeless
on the asphalt and gave him
a modest burial of veined
copper beech leaves, the way
a chameleon is covered with twigs
to avert misfortune.
We went to a matinee, the applause
unnerving in the rain as the
sound of rutting deer. I remember
the smell of figs under my raincoat
and your knitted jumper, air force blue,
a vixen barking in distant streets,
the low throb of a motorbike engine.
Afterwards we walked in the space
between sirens and spoke of death
and memories. Flint, soil, enamel;
blood blown along the dividing line
at Machakos junction. A clock struck,
flocks of ducks made V
formations on the hushed river.
Your kiss left a blackberry
bruise speckled on my lip like an
In time might I retrace those steps,
the spool of autumn leaves shed there
like found truths along Ariadne’s thread.
May I recall the sky, pale as thaw, wind
blowing the taste of sorghum meal into
my mouth, the swallows returning at last
to Africa, idolatry, London rain.