When the mottled grey crab sidles through your gate
because it turned right, not left,
and has mislaid the sea,
and rears up and waves its claws
to say Come no closer;
when a lizard falls on your left shoulder
or you see a black buffalo
or a brahmin walking alone
but you cross the threshold anyway,
you've entered the world's house
uninvited. Your host
is polite, but he's looking at his watch.
You begin to stammer.
Crows drive the bright birds from your garden.
Your heart breaks.
All you can do is turn left, not right,
and tell the sea, "I have mislaid my life."
The sea will say, "Ssshhhhh,"
and "I'll welcome you, come,
we have eaten the same salt.
It seasons your tears, your blood.
You are already drowning."
When you find the sea
you know where you are.
From where you are
you can work out how to get home.