SHAPE OF THE EARTH
It starts with crystal powder at our feet, split geodes on the terrace
in Tangier. Quartz-lined segments split along ancient seams. We reach at pieces
and under our fingers the broody guise forgets shape. You gather
a sack of fragments, what we can carry, and lead to the port.
On the ferry, gliding ten miles through Levante’s sharp breath,
we moult quartz shards. Our unborn daughter kicks and fossicks
in the geodes’ huddled chill; rough eggs hewn, breathing out
captured millennia. Across the Strait, palm fronds squint at the last
hours of day; they’ve spent years bent, rating each bluster.
We came to this place trailing a parade of wind blown, leather-skinned
polyglots, tongues dashed with Sanlúcar. Here our hopes speak in patois
echoes, we walk ghost grooves in limestone alleys; feel them purl and release
within you, our shape, passing. We stop in the empty square, a salsa band begins
their night bird squabble, stall holders meddle the position of wares.
Our unborn daughter runs a patchwork, until she’s drawn away
by a fast-fingered tout braiding hair into coloured stems.
She points to threads, we watch as the silver strands are plaited
through her hair. This place is becoming our skin; soon windblown
tarps will whip-flap the sound of our days, we’ll mark the season with quills,
fibreglass masts, the tracks kitesurfers drag toward waves. Our nights are lost
in plazas listening to deserters ride a white water hush
toward dawn. Our daughter dreams through the noise, her braid caught
between fingers. It holds for almost long enough, and when the unspooling comes
it’s a never ending strand of coloured cotton, a palm of lion roars,
Moroccan mint, fur of camels, quartz dust —
all spilling thick and bloody between your fingers.