The high price of travelling

Even though our eyes are bruised
from reading all the daily news,
we think of Rome and Paris in the Springtime,
of telephoning long lost friends,
of leaving our hearts on tables in expensive restaurants.

We are like terrorists edging toward some word
of reason our commander never speaks.
We begin by opening a book on holidays
in Uganda, which has a preface telling how
to sit quietly in living room chairs
while they become electric with possibilities,
and read a chapter showing how to move
our eyes to the corner of their sockets
so that we can look (without having the appearance
of looking) at things we do not want to see,
then flick the pages for some clue
on how to get there, but all we find
are reasons not to go.

It is yet another year of no holidays
in Uganda, where we could travel
with lists of missing persons,
sit and look at complacent animals burning
in the hot light, and the chance of not seeing ourselves
would be unlikely.

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