What is it about the lavender-grey dog
hanging around the men
playing with a piece of straw
as though it were a stick
while Moscow burns behind them?
What is it that makes her lie
across my mind as if she might be
what all those words were about?
Every shadow has a shadow.
In the dapple a dark speckle, the meadow’s thirst.
Every sorrow has a sorrow,
a lessening lesson, a congealing ghost.
Density of loss;
a, ‘once was’
Grief not grudge. Extinction’s edge.
Last on the late last list.
There is a pang the weight of the sun’s fist.
There is a pang the weight of the sun’s fist
Three years later,
a year, ten years from now,
I’ll always remember;
not why perhaps, only that we were there like that, together.
Everything, all of it, leads back to you
Low tide, a boy picks up a stone
and puts it in his mouth; his father yells NO
and peels it out. This is special water
he says, gently shaking his
body. It may look pretty
but it’s very, very bad for you.
The dog doesn’t care, she prances
in the muck, then climbs in my lap
and licks. Some habits die hard, says her owner
Her wet black blunt smelling like heaven
Every crashed relationship has its black box, the blow-
by-blow account of what went wrong and how,
the crescendo of mistakes that peaks, is for an instant
quiet on its crest of trauma, then drowns itself and us
in a cascade of static. The black box is what survives,
anthracite gleaming in the wreckage where, preserved in anger,
the voices that it holds replay their lifetime of last moments
and speak of how, until the very end, it might all have been
so different, and how, right from the start, we knew it never would
I traced a stitch raised by your absence.
I concentrated on this panel of sky
and wound myself into a ribbon of silence.
I have sat at the brink drafting a lie.
I have held my breath, entered the rooms,
drawn down the blinds and opened my eyes.
I’ve stood still enough to find my own way home.
I died a little when I took tiny sips of Spring
and spared no thought for when it had all gone.
I know all I need to know. I breathe in
the shadow’s scent when it is near
and commit it to my own silent skin.
Everything over the past three
years leads back to you.
I rest on the tilted gate to prepare
for rain, the rain that began elsewhere.
He read her ‘We Were Liars’ by E. Lockhart.
It wasn’t the story, although the story is good,
and it wasn’t the way he read it. The English
accent couldn’t quire grasp the Americanisms.
The sures and yeahs became parodies that
brought humour to beauty that didn’t need it.
It was the fact that she lay with her head
on his chest and he felt the rumble of his own
voice and a vibration of words gone before.
The story he reads ends full of fire, and they
lay very still, but what to do? How long could
they remain there? So he traced patterns on
her skin with his fingers. And the patterns
became circles and the circles became words
and these actions have a tendency to progress.
He lifted her T-shirt over her shoulders and
we know the rest. There are all types of bodies.
If you’re lucky you’ll find someone whose skin
is a canvas for the story of your life.
Write well. Take care of the heartbeat behind it.
It’s June and sweltering.
The kiss you left on my lips
is dying down.
Everything has changed.
The window shows me clouds
that have not altered,
the sky is ablaze yet refuses
to stain the light.
Meanwhile your morning progresses
and under some other light you’re
tapping out data,
or singing quietly to yourself.
Beyond the gate a man continues sweeping,
collecting fallen things. I contemplate window glass,
quietly fracturing on its own terms.
It is what
it is. But
what is it?
What it is –
whose two terms
Time to give, time
to give myself up
the first winds
the north roads
but towards you
Then in the morning’s grey light
but towards you
Right through the city
and right through
but towards you
To your voice
your being you