Poem

So much activity outside
where sunlight spills across the snow
like cream –

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      Rain bubble-wrapping the windows. Rain
falling as though someone ran a blade down the spines
   of fish setting those tiny backbones free. Rain
            with its squinting glance, rain

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To be alone in the wide room
in the house’s crooked elbow, turning point
for extensions as the family grew
and grew – and grew – to be alone in the one room
nobody needed now, though it might be resumed
like land, for guests or blow-ins, at any moment,
without notice (and that was part of
the appeal, the very tenuous feel of the place) to play the ...

Not since I was four or five at most
and in the first of many striped tee-shirts
have I been this close to the flavour of safety.
I’m walking into town again, the child of hills.
You bought me fish and chips for lunch, my own
adult portion because I asked for it, in Evans’s
tiled restaurant, the Alhambra of takeaways.

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Waiting on a reeking strange
     railway station –
then the dead-quiet but crowded
     night ferry.

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Until this morning
I’ve been woken up
by a red wattle bird
flinging himself
at the glass
of my half-open window
calling throatily
with raucous cheek
as he prances the wood
of my balcony rail ... (read more)

We were never married, Dido.
Cease weeping, let me leave and agree
we both knew real spouses.

Even as the ghost of my precious wife passed
through my clutching arms like mist

sampling Jeffrey Harrison’s ‘Danger: Tulip’,
from Ploughshares, Winter 2006–07

Was I hoping to find my way to the creek, loud
with unseasonal rain, and to see, perhaps,

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was all it said

just a tiny message

to let me know

that all the way over there

where she was

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I was given to this body as haphazardly
As the monster of Frankenstein.

Lightning is a man’s metaphor,
But like fire it provides

A force alien to question.
Perhaps I am only this, this flesh,

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