Death is a sure scent beyond the compound
and his season has arrived about a month ago.
There are no cats in the vicinity.
Only a dangerous number of young dogs.
The regular mate isn’t around.
Her owner has taken her away on a holiday.
One day, his risks at luring someone else paid off
and the ensuing rituals offered neighbours hope
that the embarrassment may stop.
But the scuffles and races must have been too brief
to take the hoarseness out of his throb.
He still calls and disgusted women shush him
until his sadness is nothing short of the theatrical
for those who have endured this little drama through the days,
and some awkward householder suggests vitamins.
He hardly eats, droops on the doormat,
has stopped hunting sparrows…
Every day, some more of the feral in him
dies into a dull slackness
and extinguished eyes return from aimless prowls
to wail near a window that does not open.
The indifferent houses go on
knowing nothing of this vulgar ailment.
And perhaps for a rasping fraternity deep in the bones,
the men let him be when he starts again
but the women have sensed
a foul portent in his calls
and hotly shoo him out of sight.
The farmer has left,
lightly closing the door
on his sodden tools,
his words, his songs,
a few reasons with which
he tilled his earth.
The house rises alone
by the pineapple-slopes
of his woman’s eyes at dawn
and tangled voices of life and weed
cannot fill its gaping mouth anymore.
The walls echo the chatter,
the bickering and reconciliations,
just as the swing returns the light
of his absence and dreams.
The roof has crumbled
a little more to the east,
where blood’s stream wove a garden
with kisses and smiles trapped in photographs.
When seed returns to earth, his children
will follow the trail of a green blaze,
wash death’s stain off windy curtains,
eat of night’s full plate.
And he’ll remain in the passing
of shadow unto shadow,
whistling in their breath as grain,
the cut grass under the heavy pear tree,
all that was set into song
in the wavering light, fallen
for a while on his desire’s plough.