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

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