Of course birds saw me, everyone saw me walking along but nobody knew why, I could have been on a mission, everyone’s moving about and no one knows why, and in fact I killed two cats and a child under five so it wasn’t that different from a mission, and I don’t see why I can’t have one day and then go back, I’ll go on to the end after this. It wasn’t so much the birds I was frightened of, it was the weather, the weather here’s on the side of the Japanese. There were thunderstorms all through the mountains, I went through towns I hadn’t been before. The rats are bleeding out of their mouths and ears, which is good, and so were the girls by the side of the road. It was tiring there because everything’s been recruited, there were piles of bodies and if you stopped to find out there was one killed by coffee or one killed by pins, they were killed by heroin, petrol, chainsaws, hairspray, bleach, foxgloves, the smell of smoke was where we were burning the grass that wouldn’t serve. The Bolivians are working with gravity, that’s a secret so as not to spread alarm. But we’re getting further with noise and there’s thousands dead of light in Madagascar. Who’s going to mobilise darkness and silence? that’s what I wondered in the night. By the third day I could hardly walk but I got down to the river. There was a camp of Chilean soldiers upstream but they hadn’t seen me and fourteen black and white cows downstream having a drink so I knew I’d have to go straight across. But I didn’t know whose side the river was on, it might help me swim or it might drown me. In the middle the current was running much faster, the water was brown, I didn’t know if that meant anything. I stood on the bank a long time. But I knew it was my only way of getting here so at last I put one foot in the river. It was very cold but so far that was all. When you’ve just stepped in you can’t tell what’s going to happen. The water laps round your ankles in any case.
Far Away, Joan