Woke up thinking of the place I would die.
Faraway town, seaside.
Steep cliffs and crashing waves.
A wide town square with fountains that have run dry, Lonely statues from an expired empire.
When you come to collect me, you turn your collar up
Against the wind.
Shield your eyes to look for the fishermen
On the cobalt sea.
Oil refinery in the distance,
Flame burning through the night.
A port where cranes, already skeletal,
The streets both empty and full, as if in wait for an eclipse.
Or maybe Boumahra Ahmed,
A back room,
A view of the Oued Seybouse.
Breeze warm as breath,
Reclining on a balcony
Over a narrow alley
In the French Quarter
Dreaming of fishing boats
Knocking against each other in the shallow harbour.
On the other side of the world,
You roll up your jacket and put it against the window to be comfortable in sleep.
A goldfish floats upside down in its makeshift home of cognac glass.
An old man throws seed to sparrows.
A spider moves to the centre of its web, finished,
And a ballet dancer pliés.
Woke up thinking of where I would die.
Not even die—
While skinny dogs wander the streets in packs
And the sun reflects like liquid metal in the tower block windows,
Turn to dust.
And at twilight, the horizon sparkles,
From celebration or destruction is unclear.