Salt, Mint, Ash, Fern
Azores, April ’15
The air tastes like water.
Your hand sinks into stars of moss.
Everything here is assembled from what is broken:
cities of ash and fern mosaics, cobblestones,
rough cathedrals of black lava.
No-one comes here by accident.
No sailors sunraw and aching,
Neither lost bird nor seed.
The air tastes of cut grass, shell, kelp breeze,
of flowers soaking
into the dead and verdant earth.
Scars run deep –
overgrown trenches gaping, greening
the beating, burning heart of the earth sensed or
seen twixt rhododendron, eucalyptus, fertile traces of steam
turning the moss slow sulphur orange.
Look into the depths of what was wrecked, what was lost
– Your hand feels the earth’s wetness,
hot as an open oven.
Barefoot in five kinds of wild mint –
everywhere is chalk white, everywhere is the sea,
steel and violet
and cachalote churning beneath,
the wrinkled nubs of their spines –
They can dive two miles down,
My salt heart in my mouth.
’57: the sea rent asunder and
now the lighthouse watches ash.
It looks like devastation:
see how it is a new earth?
Later, we find sand in your ears, in your socks,
black. Wild mint in your pockets.
we come – in water – clean.
No-one ever has or will.