Mudlark No. 41 (2010)

Excursion into Reality

Earth’s only acknowledgements of its human weight
were the laterite road, our car, our swirl of dust,
I am saying to my journal that night,
in my resthouse with screens and gin.
There were miles of veldt in my reverie,
thorny woodlands, wandering herds,
mud huts, silent drums,
rogue soldiers at a roadblock.
A human figure appeared ahead,
I say to my notes,
I with planes waiting for anywhere.
A girl,
swinging an incense pot,
But already I am on guard
against the fallacy of exaggerated significance.
We stopped,
approached her, smiling, testing our language.
Her face expressed nothing I could understand.
Is there organizing drama enough, I am saying,
to justify this peering empathy
for her person, her places, her lore, her news,
this curiosity for how she would not be everygirl?
We gave her coins, a bottle of water.
I motioned to the air, wiped my brow, smiling.
She gazed at our clothing, our faces, our vehicle.
She with whom I share implicated rumors
out of old anthropology.
We pointed toward the distance ahead,
boarded, smiling and waving,
drove on.
Surely, I am saying to my journal,
there would be a way to declare,
without insipidity,
how close a life can be to a life,
how far a life can be from a life.

Oliver Rice | Mudlark No. 41 (2010)
Contents | Hello, Aristotle