Always a slow maelstrom of dirt Smothers our town. Over the tonsured heads of the hills Clouds promise nothing But white glare And gigantic silence. Here I have my dry yard of acacia trees to inherit, And my vanishing language to dream in. This is my place to hang the familiar flags of religion and war, To walk ragged, insanitary streets at evening, Where pavement cooking pots, rubbish mounds are the national dress. The litter of generations is clogged in the slack brown throat of our river. At night I can smell its strays Wiry, restless like their fleas, Sniff the fishermen's poles, nets Distracted in shadow. Ragged men stir on the bank. Slender as herons, Only they can recall The old glamour of tumbling water. When the moon's peasant manners Fall upon the famine of the other bank, The squatters' irrepressible shanties Locked in their secret architecture of shame and poverty, I know these homes, these families, shall melt into the river With the wet season coming. All our lives pivot above such precarious mud. Taste the sound of thunder in the asphalt sky And rain, that shall wash away Our refuse, our ashes.