Poetry

Missing persons

Peacetime or war

there are deserters to round up,

warrants to be issued

by the clerk of rules.

 

In the riotless city

of fashionable slums

no one staggers through jungle

to reach the border,

uniform ditched in the grass,

rifle upside down for a crutch.

No body bags accrue

in Parliament Gardens,

just the nightly sarcophagi

of plastic and rags -

the blacks and drinkers

who are never you.

Unless of course

you have come to join them:

has some endlessness hooked your gaze

and called ‘follow'?

You cannot say why or what for?

Throw your ID off the jetty

to fake drowning. Disappear

among the undergrowth of crowds,

the air for your premises.

Enter it through some pilgrimage door

and in the process become invisible.

You might as well be far off

as Canada for all the hope

of you being found.

They can pin up your photo

at the post office all they like

but you have gone from your name,

your face only a beard,

toes blue in rotten sandals.

Get the latest essay, memoir, reportage, fiction, poetry and more.

Subscribe to Griffith Review or purchase single editions here.

Griffith Review