The slums flood this morning,
pandan, typhus, & what collapses DNA
overwhelming the barricades.
Under his tree, tools in rough orbit,
he repairs her good shoes.
Glue brush at arch, he tries to hold steady.
When everything’s littoral, suballuvion,
everything against the sea, the book
of inundation psalms so little of use.
Mold’s furious code, cats rotting on the asbestos roof,
electricity tries to find something
to live within, a body: his needle
like the blood of a good heart
moves in & out of darkness between her sole
& what touches pavement.
The rain tree’s branches disappear
at the minister’s wall, the concrete
poured to let them through, the branches.
The tailless cat escapes himself
into that other world, like information
lost in the crushing well of time.
He hasn’t told anyone.
He hasn’t told anyone at all.
Decay? Fetor? The industrial estates
have succumbed & the children play in the sump
& chemical & act of God.
On my way to see Him, I ask the cobbler
in what human speech we share
if I can bring him anything. Ask the lord
when will I be coming to see Him.
When I return this way,
the streets haven’t flooded but he is gone,
his tin box stashed in the roots.
I want to tell somebody.
I want to tell anybody at all.