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C L I F F    F E L L




And when I left India: ten quid in my pocket,
a bag of morphine stashed in my shoe
and a habit heavy as diesel.

A fortnight later when everything ran out
in a fleapit deep in Tehran—
my skin was a rumour of unwritten scrip,

dust of cities, forgotten star-maps,
contours I would have to cross
for thousands of years. I followed

my tracks into the mountains, where rivers
tossed in their white beds, and the Shah
(or was it Augustus Caesar or the Czar?)

still haunts the tea-house above the pines.
It was months or more
before my thumb found London.

I floated through High Holborn
and all my body’s geography
turned with me
as I turned into Threadneedle Street.



From The Adulterer’s Bible (Wellington: Victoria UP, 2003)


Last updated 26 April, 2006