Sahara Dust

The air is sharp with dust: it’s hard to breathe. The sky’s scraped white with it, the light turns gold And ominous. I cough and cough and cough. It blows each year from Africa, a seethe That Pollocks the parked cars with ochre, rust, The powdered pigments for the nimbus on The icon of a not-quite-sainted saint, An “osios” perhaps: holy enough.   The air is edged with dust. The black-bird sings The riffed cadenzas of all other springs. One magpie clatters, black and white as rain, Clearing the grey matter of the brain. The trees pull thin air out of light. It’s quaint,   We used to think, Sahara dust. On cue, Each year, but more and more. Oxymoron: The desert empties but it doesn’t shrink. Worn carpet shaken out against the sky! If sometimes there are clouds half-lined in zinc, And tinted with a putto-bottom pink, So are the sickly seasons furbelowed, Too-late romantic as Rachmaninoff.   Our children know this evening of dust, The chalky sky, my iterative cough. It’s like the future to them, tired hit song They never have not known, so hum along, But still I can’t get used to it. Can you? Is being newly old what makes it new?— The past so fresh—like wet paint—no—like dew.

Already have an account? Log in

Want to keep reading? Join our community:


Support great writing by becoming a full subscriber to Liberties Journal.

Subscribe Today

Free Preview

Sign up with your email address, and access two free articles per month.

We hope you've enjoyed your free articles!

Become a full subscriber for only $50/year, (33% off cover price).

Thank you for supporting great writing.

Subscribe Today
Log In Subscribe

Sign Up For Free

Read 2 free articles a month after you register below.

Register now