What borders do
In the mirror I held a face
that held a face's stare,
In that mirror
the face that stared
stared back at me in fear...
They came upon slowing traffic.
Inside a war-torn bus
standing passengers were gently rocked.
They were driven along an unfinished road.
Unfinished roads were you
that each rock and pothole
were placed carefully in order
to discomfit the passengers,
to remind them of their poverty.
They passed the sun-glassed occupants
of cars and busses
and the rolled-up sleeves of lorry drivers.
Tanned arms hung out of windows;
fingers tapping an unheard beat.
The foot-worn passengers
clutching the free tickets to
a roll-call of loss and desperation,
They stooped to stare at the dancing distance
of heat waves rising from
the baked highway.
They gripped passports,
Identity papers, rosary- beads
'Letters of transit'
but they were not needed;
the border did what most borders do-
it shrugged them through.
Smiles become all languages.
Later, I sat staring out the window of a bar-
A bus stopped and people got off.
A dog scratched.
The sky was blue and cloudless.
The poor -the confused and naked poor-
had gone where the confused and naked go-
I lifted a cold drink.
Then Jez turned to me and asked:
"Is this what it's like to be drunk?"
I smiled as I slid my wine towards her...
words and foto T Carroll
Re-draft no 6