Nocturne Mozambique

by Liz Trew

[after Mia Couto]

A man in tatters lies in a bed of ashes
under a frangipani about to flower.
Voices make night –
murmurs of the spirits, calls of night birds
and the mating croak of paradise toads
mingle with his cries of fire.

An orange spider from the sun
at the far edge of the world
crosses an ocean on a flamingo
and enters the night.
She alights on the tree
spinning her silk through its branches,
dangles the end of her thread above his head.
He shudders and turns.
She wills him to rise from his dream
reach for her rope and begin.

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