in Natal, South Africa,
a woman carries water on her head. . . .
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I have gone out, a possessed witch,
haunting the black air, braver at night;
dreaming evil, I have done my hitch . . .
Nothing has changed. They have a welcome sign,
a hill with cows and a white house on top,
a mall and grocery store where people shop, . . .
Is the ocean really inside seashells
or is it all in your mind?
—PICHON DE LA ONCE . . .
Soul and race
are private dominions,
memories and modal . . .
I have heard the horn of Roland goldly screaming
In the petty Pyrenees of the inner ear . . .
To turn a stone
with its white squirming
underneath, to pry the disc . . .
On the crowded hill bordering the mill,
across the shallow stream, nearer than they seem,
they wait and will be waiting. . . .
He’ll have been the last of his kind here then.
The flagstones, dry-stone walls, the slumping thatch,
out-offices and cow cabins, the patch . . .
I am four in this photograph, standing
on a wide strip of Mississippi beach,
my hands on the flowered hips . . .