A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & Owner
Ray Rasmussen, General Editor

Volume 13, Number 3, September 2019

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Matthew Caretti
Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, USA

African Time

The wild creatures I had come to Africa to see are exhilarating in their multitudes and colors, and I imagined for a time that this glimpse of the earth’s morning might account for the anticipation that I felt, the sense of origins, of innocence and mystery, like a marvelous childhood faculty restored.
                            – Peter Matthiessen, The Tree Where Man Was Born

And yet after two years on the continent I remain inside some compound of foreignness. All in the name of safety. Yet at night the ancestors call to me. Not the dead. But the living voices of my own internal grotto. There the earliest humans. The past lives and those met during each successive birth. Again and again . . .

slow sifting
through my hands

A chorus rises. The universe sings. But how to listen. To hush the distracting noise. The physical enclosure remains, yet I learn to stride outside the external. Beyond the secure fantasy. One slow step then another. Folding dimensions. The movement becomes a dance. The ancestors sing . . .

slow surge
of the swallowtail
african spring