what it means to be landless

    When I look out the window I can only see cloud
    and the top of other people's roofs. Gardens
    are out of reach, even the smallest blade of grass.
    In stormy weather rain dashes right past me
    on the way to somewhere thirsty.
    It means shade. It means the herbs and spices
    I try to cultivate wilt under fluorescent lighting
    and air conditioning. It means safety. It means
    clean hands. It means I taste old tin
    sodium benzoate, vacuum sealed meats
    when the market is closed. I can have
    whatever I want as long as it's something on offer.
    I can give you an address that in fifty years
    will not even be memories of a lost childhood.
    When I travel, I look for floodplains and unscalable
    mountains, for the small scruffed kittens
    scratching at litter and soil and fresh greens
    we eat later not knowing where they came from.
    It means I will be burned, not buried. It means I am
    the son of no soil. It means I have no fear of
    droughts and bandits, of hard work, and children
    at play have earth brushed away from their knees
    in case it makes them sick. It means enough,
    and nothing and smiling, every morning as I rise,
    the puzzled smile of the long asleep.


    [nb: revisions]

28 January 2003   12:30 hours
family values { } love awakens