The character runs rampant down her thigh;
it is red on the sheets green and white.
You are no longer a decision to make.
Photograph of her Great Grandfather
The camera flash is reflected in his eyes
like sunlight catching icebergs in a gunmetal sea,
and his gaze defies portrait convention
by refusing to meet her own, regardless
of where in the room she chooses to stand.
Purple lips and thick black sweater
are frozen in coloured chemicals,
presiding over the head of the head of the table,
hung proudly in the space above the fireplace.
Young irises the colour of antifreeze
study the cold man, who, snapped and shuttered
away from a timely death, simply
sits instead of dies and guards the
chimney flue, warming his back with rising ash.
She thinks he looks too cold
to be comfortable, and stokes
the hearth in an attempt to bring red back into
the greyscale of his face,
to melt the ice of his polaroid permafrost.
She thought she could help; she just wanted him
to be warm again. Perhaps he was,
perhaps he felt some small affection stir
for her in his thawing heart, before he fell,
dislodged from his perch on the wall,
to become angry black smoke in the grate,
his sallow skin bubbling, the edges blackening
and curling up, a flower in mourning.
Soon enough, even her memory
of his face melted, like snow in Spring.
The trees cling to each other's
crooked arms across the river.
They stretch gnarled hands in desperation as the wind beats
Their leaves about them.
Under the shade of the willow walk
I clutch you close, my metal treasure,
Precious; I watch your face
For signs of recognition but you are
Silent, dark. Your electronic waves
Crash against the atmosphere and
I urge you to reveal words I don't quite
Want to read. I used you as a vessel;
You relayed my question to your kin,
Burrowed hundreds of miles away from me.
I wait for butterflies to burst
Through my flesh, transformed
And off to seek his sentiment. I wait
As the willow branches break their clasp;
The tension of their pull was too much,
Too soon. The silence is an avalanche.
The air grows cold and I am deafened
By my heart drumming in my head.
I rest in twilight; the way home is lost
I cradle you, hold you close to my chest.
The stars break on the horizon. I mistake their glow
For yours. But still
You're like the bird I found last winter
Lifeless, and buried in the snow.
A box of eyes filled with macarons
1. I fell in love with a flash of gold that I’d only seen once or twice. I’d often glimpse its memory as I walked down the high street, or when I turned my head too fast in the evening light, or when I stared through the steam rising from my coffee. Black, black, black as the back of its head. Black like the light of the evening.
2. Last summer I spent my days in limbo at the airport, waiting for flights from here to there, to be suspended in mid air for countless hours but without my stomach in my throat. Once I bumped into an old teacher of mine, who used to teach me Lorca. He was eloping with his girlfriend. They were about to board a flight to Idaho. ‘What a bizarre place to elope’, I thought.
3. When I close my eyes I see that my imagination overflows with milk. Milky moonlight, milky sheets, milken tweth, lactose poetry. The Weatherman used to send me milk carton carcasses and velvet mourning. I still think about his slowness. We used to be corduroy kings. Now he only exists between the night and day of my eyelids, with my letters scrunched into his back pocket.
4. Once, someone told me about the hierarchy of sadness. I understood quite immediately. My heartbreak was not as noble as hers, for hers was real. Her mother’s heartbreak was even more noble, for adult grief is more spangly than adolescent grief. I decided not to partake in the hierarchy at all - I learned to paint my teeth convincingly red instead.
5. I was standing opposite the twins on the roof of my house. The sky was not blue but orange, because the sun had bled to death. My hands and feet were blue. One twin held the wine glasses and the other twin held the wine. Just then I saw that flash of gold fly by. I surrendered and ascended upwards, upwards, upwards, towards the beyond.