The Centaur reads Robinson Crusoe
Late April rain fogs the Wasatch
and turns its wrought peaks steel;
a lightning crack draws a photograph
of poor Robin, after twenty-odd years,
surprised by a human’s footprint, reigniting
the mania of his shadow, where before
only the surf’s talk frays his thoughts,
a white comber preaching loneliness
in his ear, the algae keep its culture hidden.
Bronze skeins the bark of the tree at the window,
blackened in winter, its candelabra branches
rake the glass nightly; now damp, disheveled
like the island, modeling a wisteria crown,
his aureate hiss-teeth on a fallen palm’s gibbet,
pivoting his undivided world, sunrise and sunset,
a world the sibilant sprinkles travel wider,
blocking the desert encroaching outside,
bolting out a frenzied, sand-winged angel.
This fixed gulf disturbs nothing, only rain
lances dead leaves on the stairs to offer
welcome, the furniture alert for occupancy,
a mirror magnifies itself, an envelope’s
torn, skull-grin on the dark desk.
The kitchen has not recovered since a saucer
fell, bursting mica, its calligraphy reads
shadow crest abyss shadow,
and suddenly, strangely peopled, like Robin
in sheaves of rain, the land blurs April
into a fiction that never ends: a late night
garbage truck reverses and collects daily
rubbish, the banks winking around
the convention centre, no one at the gas
station pump, no one alive in the local
dive, so no one hears the long thunder.
Ishion Hutchinson was born in Port Antonio, Jamaica. He has published one collection, Far District: Poems (Peepal Tree Press Limited, 2010), and is at work on a second.
Homepage photograph via Flickr by hans.griep