The year the flies migrated south.
The year that the fortress of golden porcupines was established impregnable.
The year the skin of boiled milk became bitter breath on the young embalmer’s lips.
The year that the dead returned and gave small white stones as wedding gifts to the living.
The year of fourfold harvests, of wheat in every storehouse overflowing, of ripe fruit
rotting before the stonemason’s doorway.
The year the snake Eshanuel entered and shed its skin in the second Queen’s bedchamber.
The year that the blind priestess foresaw a great gathering of ravens to the west of the
The year that the river It Is Silent returned to brood in the mountains.
The year the madwoman from the forgotten marshes donned a beard and became King of
all lands under the Four Heavens.
The year of a single incommensurable error.
The year of going away, of feet that leave no prints behind, of villages left to be occupied
by the rain.
Peter Boyle is a Sydney-based poet and translator. In 2017 he won the Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry with Ghostspeaking. His latest collection is Enfolded in the Wings of a Great Darkness.
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