A sneeze cut the night in half,
as I walked back from the hotel,
whistling an old Dylan tune,
and poking a finger at the stars.

Then fast footsteps followed me,
accompanied by loud exhalations
of breath, till a tall, fat fellow
paced alongside me, laughing

at how he’d caught up with me,
without my running on ahead.
He could be a mugger, he hissed,
then a big sneeze came again.

He then pronounced my name,
and proffered his hand. Startled,
I shook it. I did not know him,
but indeed he seemed familiar—

or almost familiar. Another life,
maybe. His voice had no accent,
or none I could specify. His face
was small for his shape and size.

The moon was round and afloat,
the rain was out on the islands,
so I quickened my pace,
which was no problem to him.

He sneezed once more. The hay,
he muttered, laughing, then he
grabbed my arm. Would you, he
said, accompany me to the sea?