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Sunday 20 April 2003

Diego Martin, by Philip Sander

Holding the valley's breath, am faithful for breathing,
holding great rain in my lungs & the thrashing trees
& the heat in their boiling leaves & the river thriving,
tripping itself from the North Post down to the sea
in six great leaps like six tumulting sneezes
& the valley's mud in my mouth for bitter keeping,
a purse of black mint, & my teeth in the marrow shale
grinding the silt that breeds the weeds in my throat
& for all this flood I am almost too slight a basin,
am brimming at eyes & nose, as the hills are seeping,
the trees' red roots drowned in the soaking air,
I spit these drowning stones to the marshes waiting,
the tepid flats assuaged by yawning herons,
swarms of madding blackbirds whip me with thorns.

Exhale to rest in the heat of the swamp-palms' shadows
where the valley last gives in to the stolid gulf.