Intimate Lightning
by Sydney Clouts

Too succulent for quinces comes
this fresh quo vadis,
Africa

the bud
the blossom
the scent
the intimate lightning.

Tusks traded for cash lie somewhere staling under hessian,
to be fetched for another buyer at the coast.
Tusks, skins, rhinoceros horn.

What I want, Zambesi’s
abler darkness fools with:
the full penetrant
eye, and more, much more:

eye in whose obstinate dusks and rains
the forest opens;

truths of the long lianas tense with dew.

It promised these
once, but lost them
in me. I
now, in a scooped log, ride
upon More, More, the River of the Night.