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Shrill antennae of hurricane
Worry the roof.
The spray drifts in the wind.
Yesterday, I swam
Adrift in the sponge-bath sea.
In the laboratory,
Clotted blood and faeces -
The interminable variations
Of human shit.
Coral, cowrie, a South-sea sun.
The spray drifts;
Flies, mosquitoes,
Die in the drift.
Faeces swirl in the selenite.
A coloured boy swings a machete
Idly by the roadside,
Dark face, white smile.
His blood burns in the incinerator,
Bubbles and burns.
A flare of blazing diesel.
Urine, faeces, blood.
Colonies of strep and staph
Melt and fall to embers.
Overcast, undercast,
Clouds mounting, mounting.
A fever scratches my scalp.
The boy with the machete smiles
And his blood boils.
Long chains from a soldier's ear
String out under the microscope.
My face floats in the water,
Breathing the other elements.
My hands scan the currents of the reef,
Scan murder -
And handful of dead things
Goes into the boiling water.
A fish-stink fills the laboratory.
Fungus, fever, blood and shit.
The pump in my hands
Spreads insecticide,
Spreads a fine mesh of death in the wind.
In the wind,
Nausea, giddiness, blurred vision
And liquid shit.
Worms writhe in the selenite,
White night-crawlers.
Atele, Atele, Atele beach,
The radio writhes;
Voices bubble underwater, drowning.

Copyright © 2003 Hugh Cook

Picture of front cover of ARC OF LIGHT poetry collection by Hugh Cook.

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