A night so still I can hear my pulse like
some distant machinery breathing, the beat
of its pistons teasing my ear, my brain.
A disturbance in the mind engenders there
a pause, a looking inwards through windows
of sound carried on waves of silence in nights
harried by this brush with blood forcing
a passage through rivers clogged with mud.
Where once steamers paddled, corpuscles in
the vein of country, now sandbanks fatten, the flow
is turgid with pools where algae blooms; and then
in the still night, the beat of a pump, sound
and symbol of illness in a drying land. Listen:
bruised by this pulse, we can only wonder when.