nederlandse taal
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from the misted island apex

of a garish golf club

the mountains slope seaward
in second gear

through monkey

past the poorer of the poor
on the arid karst

past rainforest
artist retreats

and down the valley
through the clove hamlets

on mattresses of drying cloves

we blend our heads
with harvest buds

in a documentary
of the clove

and every smile
to greet our drive

a frivolous after-school

of kids
all arms and flirting

going home
slow as tropical plants

compacted into Dutch
economies of space

picket fence
clove-stained sarongs dry

a breezy
ignorance of history

‘behind’ us now
dormant volcano

kept sleepy with prayer and
animal sacrifice

the road goes on
to inter-island seas

where the blood and ash
of speechless times

are purged
with cloves

to feed the coral
in its turquoise sea

blooming without bitterness
lurid shallows

and dark up welling
as the shelf drops off

towards such depths
the mountain can’t imagine

under its fragrant canopy
medicinal levels

of easy questions
asking why

why the sharks
rise up sometimes

to terrorise the bright
green light

and we know that cloves
can’t answer that

nor the shady school
of rural thought we thought

we’d found again
like a promise to return