For Rimbaud in Africa


North star, when were you lost?

Dawn climbs calmly as water
up a well

then birdsong drops
the day's first note and ripples

divide in all directions---hounds lope by,
the trade in guns and coffee begins,

and still you keep your eye cocked
on the only weathervane in town. Gun-runner

on the run, desert con-man haggling
to buy back confidence, above your head,

among mackerel clouds, a rung-less rope ladder
unrolls.

Knock yesterday's stones from your boots
and slip them on.

Take this little dipper, thirsty traveler,
this compass needle

trembling on its post.



back to Node 2 cluster