Skip to content
Words Without Borders is one of the inaugural Whiting Literary Magazine Prize winners!
from the September 2005 issue

On the Hoof

The question about this fact-free life brimming
with great notions is, can you live up to it?
At dusk the megaphones get all confidential
in the words of mountains the sun never scales.
In the rising murmur you listen for the
tinny undertones of carnival: saltimbanques
get under your skin, cymbals and triangles
yell like a riot of doomed may-flies.
The heart does an about turn and reason breaks into slivers
when the world grows dim in your eyes, which retreat
bewildered, nestling beneath the lids or sheltering
under the brows, at the absolute end of their tether.
Will I ever stop plunging headlong into these realms?
Perhaps when you drop down a peg and start to look
threadbare, when you check out the damaged landscape with
peripheral vision, the specks of dust at the side of the road.
You will find your focus and from that point on nature is
not a fixture. So you go for a walk, your pockets
stuffed with banknotes and handkerchiefs doused with perfume
merely as a precaution. You enter the canyon of the evening
in the shape of an alley that rears overhead, and the dark air
muddies with phantoms whose voices rattle away
like a glee club of frogs, or a male voice choir of gnats.

Read more from the September 2005 issue
Like what you read? Help WWB bring you the best new writing from around the world.