In Botswana, New Zealand

To anyone squatting in Botswana’s dirt
making thin carvings from thinner shadows,
London’s falling down means

nothing, Paris’ falling means
nothing, Nuku’alofa’s … nothing. Cloistered
in clothes, you

stand, foot heavy,
jammed in my doorway. You
talk to me of changes. Someone has

predicted Jupiter’s fall from space, Saturn’s
fall, then Pluto’s, then Earth’s - that the
chopped-off head of God is going to

roll across the universe,
a gigantic football, all hair, flabby jowls and
long beard, You

stand, picture-book open and
expect me to believe in cartoons, in the religious sequence of
this will be our finest hour in

Botswana, New Zealand. I
pick at worms
turning over the soil, aerating the gaps between crops. I

break the clods with a shovel. Why
do people still knock on doors,
flap about on false wings and dance the apostolic

fandango? In Botswana, I live in a hut made of
particle board and when it rains
it stinks of chemicals – when it rains, gutters

wash houses down drains. The streets are unusually
empty. I find companionship
in the hairy man who jumps from his pit of clay, who

shouts and gesticulates at a thunderstorm
dumping its load. When he
crouches in the dirt, he draws me in.

Iain Britton

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