I’m getting ready to head off again
the intrepid traveller trailing red push pins across a map
signifying places visited, fears conquered.
I’m affraid, as always,
of the unknown, the imagined,
seeking adventure I cower from mind-made terrors;
is this how we grow stronger,
surviving what doesn’t kill us,
or is it just me, the way I think,
holding myself back as I tie myself in uneeded knots?
I’ll let you know when I return (if)
from red-gold sands striped with animal tracks –
jackal and lion, snake and cheetah and more.
As I lie unsleeping, unblinking, wide-eyed, in a tent
under a vast network of desert stars,
only canvas separating me from the wild,
I will think of you, of this, of home,
I will remember standing here
writing in my cocoon of boredom and safety
and only then – under the stars in a distant, foreign night –
will this faint excitement, these captured butterflies,