Four Lies


The First Lie
I’m the little toy you’ll shatter,
the garden with miraculous
hiding places. You dart in and out
just to be half-found.

I’m the wind that sings in Braille,
your own shadow getting longer,
the beautiful holes that whimper
in your brain.

The Second Lie
Am I flower, am I grass blade?
Am I almost, but not quite, a word?
A new island made of hush,
off the map? One thing’s sure:

I’m late for my own creation –
on the eighth day – your afterthought.
You made me and now you must watch
God eat me up bit by bit.

The Third Lie
I haven’t explained myself.
You close your eyes, you leap.
It’s almost a devout thing to do,
so God says. Or another trap.

Opening your eyes later
you get remorse like a joke.
Stood next to such a gorgeous lie
you’re in danger of looking fake.

The Fourth Lie
You say: I dreamt, and not: I lied.
When you wake up, it’s a strange bed.
you open the door, shamefaced,
on a room so devastated

you run for the lift to the ground floor.
It tings, says, ‘Doors closing.’
There are lies flying in the air
utterly grey from living upside down. 


Jo Shapcott – Tender Taxes

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