Dragonfly

This reading was recorded by Alessandro Mistrorigo at The Arts Box (www.theartsbox.com), in Vicenza, Italy (13th of October, 2013).

Read by Chris Mann on 13 October 2013

Dragonfly

Your lineage is as old as coal,
your life, in the swirl of stars,
a twitch of plasma on a reed.

Rafting the Zambezi river,
I saw your filigree shimmer
on a boulder’s bulky sphinx.

The raft had spun in an eddy,
bumped the wall of a gorge
and grounded on a rock-spur.

I was glad to rest. Upstream,
a vortex in the slide of green
had slid the raft to its crest,

lifted the stern high in the air
then hurled me from my bench
into a roaring, spinning hole.

For a whole eternity of panic
I’d suffocated in a Charybdis,
feeling certain that I’d drown.

How greedily then I registered
the powdery, glistening bands
of crimson around your back,

each wingtip’s lunette of blue.
I dipped a finger in the river
and on the hot, eroded granite

I wrote my name in water.
Before I’d streaked the last letter,
you and the writing had gone.

from Home from Home: New and selected Poems (Cape Town: Echoing green Press, 2012)

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