Wednesday, 11 April 2012

10: This Unspooling City

Exhausted from this slate grey glow
I folded the screen like a test paper,
pocketed the biro, decided
the only questions I’d answer
were written on toilet doors, or
posed in fortune cookie crackers, or
read from the runes of the currents of the sea.

A sleep-addled sunbeam lay down,
scritched its spine on the canal like a
kitten, purred for my fingers to find
its angora swatch and claw. I couldn’t
bear the slow sit by the mailbox anymore,
couldn’t still my haunches to wait
for words to drip like stalactites, calcify,
couldn’t wait—

I folded the screen, laced ballerina pump
ribbons up and over my knees. I became the
nutcracker prince warring a seven-headed
mouse king; I kicked and leapt.

Who can sit in this unspooling city, sit still;
who can latch the window and leave the
streets to a stranger’s footfall?

I cannot; I try, I cannot.
I fold the screen, whispering sorry.

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