We warp in the heat, buckle beneath the buzz of thick cut air pressing in on all sides. Can’t blame trains for stumbling. As unsteady on tracks as we are. Yesterday they seemed straighter, smoother, solid. Today everything is melting, running into gutters. I would stop too. Choke my mixed signals and lurch into whatever station offered refuge. Poem for the hottest July day on record.
Some days I don’t need a husband I need scaffolding. So I can tend to the broken, the busted windows the cracking paint, the guttering that doesn’t drain when the rain comes in and all the sediment circling the drain but never quite clearing. Some days I need that from you, and nothing more.
Half this family tree has been watered until the branches hang heavy with fruit. We know all the name, if not the faces, see the resemblance in the variety. On the other side we know much less, can’t quite feast on what is left. There are wanderers in this blood, apples that fell far and wide and distant. Strangers in stranger places bobbed, grew their own trees from loose cores. People put down roots, grew branches, spread the distance between lines.
Cup the whole of me in one hand. Hold my belly up to a light, judge my origins, if I might be the real deal. Examine my spine carefully through this sheen of skin while I burn like paper, edges curling in as I smoke. Test the me between teeth, bite down, heads up, crack your enamel on my silver forked tail. Spit me free with blood and tooth and every question asked to test the mettle in me. Wonder why I leave with a word like love so sour in my mouth I choke.
Did you hear me say ‘I love you’ last night? when I left the kiss of it on your skin and curled my hands into claws oh so tight wondered who led who, into all this sin. Wondered if sin was what we’re really in then lost the edge of my thought on your lips found it again in the dips of your hips, tried to tell you, that you were everything the only one I trust when this mask slips a lover, a partner, my rock, my life spring. Tonight’s form challenge is a Dizain. A ten line poem with ten syllables per line and a rhyme scheme that follows the pattern ababbccdcd.
There’s a sheen to the water, a swirl of slick, slurp, sludge squirming up the beach surfing old tidal rips to suck down feathered flurries, their bone stuck wings submerged to make stones with panicked beady eyes, staring up at a surface mirroring startled starlings swooping in a grey choked sky and a small child with a face still plump young, trying to break the glass with one fat finger, all the while calling for his mother to come and look.
I followed your path, at a distance. You like the sun, or any volatile star burning a streak towards the horizon. A scorching vision to those of us watching, waiting. Aware that you would set before us. Terrified of dusk. Sensing its arrival anyway.
I remember you tiny, barely a handful yet fully formed. Face screwed into a perfect grimace. So put out that you were here again to do this all over with this unimpressive lot.
It’s an odd moment when you recognise his fingers for pins pressed through your skin, and into the wall behind. Must be the same panic, as an insect caught up in spider silk. Not all shimmer is gold. Too late to be free without loosing something perhaps all of you, yourself, in the struggle.
You shed it all despite my begging, and became so light I lost you.