The Morning Post

Sand has flown from the Sahara in the night,
crossing lands and seas to fall on this city.
Or has some wind blown it from nearby fields?
For the first time I take notice of dust:
all my life I have lived without seeing
all that is ordinary, all that is
where it should be:
birds in the sky, men on land,
fish in the sea's dark depths.
Wearing a mask
made specially for this poem,
I stand with eyes open on an empty stage,
declaiming inside a glass box
my name, nickname, surname, pen-name,
address, age, birthplace, education, job.
Every day since I opened my eyes
I have done this, trembling like a broken puppet
dangling from the strings
that grow twisted as I wither too,
gasping for breath,
my next role unwritten.
The post lies on the mat,
curling at the edges, unread
every morning.
From there I move on
another passing day: hardly a glance
at the morning post my figure shadows.
The geography of near and far inside you
decides what life brings: happiness or sorrow;
time of grief, a brief moment for love.
Over and over I practise the minor rules
of punctuation: life still spent
on small distinctions. Yesterday's
unfinished business still unfinished
tomorrow. I grow old, trying to become new
by wearing another coat today.
1992 Leicester
From Subah kii Daak, Morning Post