William Stephenson



The Shed that Stored Africa

We stuffed Mogadishu behind the rusty rear wheel
of Ben’s old bike.  Spokes of shadow slice the city
whenever the sun cuts through a crack in the door.

That rusty Dulux tin is Aden.  The garrison formed
column of fours, marched out to quell a nest of ants
then vanished in jungle behind the drainpipe.

We built Cairo on the hessian sacking left over
from the windbreak George made last September
for our trip to Hunstanton.  Not bad, considering

it holds as many people as London. For the pyramids
we used Susan’s sandcastle buckets, turned over.
She left them behind when she married.  Peculiar.

Now slugs ooze along the Valley of the Kings,
smearing silver offerings onto boulders, hunting
the last unplundered tomb.  On fiery July afternoons

the Nile, crusty with crocodiles, shiny as petroleum,
floods the rose beds.  Baboons scream in the privet.
This morning a lion flattened our rhododendrons.



William Stephenson’s first full collection Travellers and Avatars will be published by Live Canon in 2018.  His pamphlets are Rain Dancers in the Data Cloud (Templar, 2012) and Source Code (Ravenglass, 2013), downloadable at: http://chesterrep.openrepository.com/cdr/bitstream/10034/336895/11/Stephenson-source+code.pdf

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