Slipping I slipped deeper on every word you spoke, caught up in the letters like giants and their fingers pinioned and pyloned at the edges of my reason, they made a fence around my certainty. Territorial of territory you deemed dangerous you became guard dog reversed. All teeth and snarl when I made to leave. Or maybe that was me biting the hand at my collar…
Always pointed in words and pose. Perfect poise, perfect response, perfect timing. Held yourself above the rest of us. My own feet too leaden. My words dropped like iron anchors through deck and hull. Took the ship down with me. You reached or so I thought when I grasped for your hand. You were simply gesturing to the view beyond.
You. It’s burnt into my memory that open mouthed gape swallowing my words, and the back turned mid-sentence on an answer to a question you had asked only for the slow spin, arm triangled over your head as you scratched your scalp, and those frown scrunched nostrils somehow still flared in a state of confusion when I refused to speak to a man not facing me.
Always just sort of truly set these ways wobble wonderfully, or is it woefully? Uncertain if they’re certain about the shape of the course decided upon, waited upon, debated upon. This is what has been done. So far… for now… Not quite as pictured. A very quick poem before I head to bed tonight. It was my first night back on the judo mat, so I’ve only just got home, but I didn’t want to miss the Quadrille night. Can’t wait to read the others tomorrow. (P.S, I almost think this might count as a political poem… huh… not really done one of those before.)
You with your oak bark hands planted on the bank just before the hill drop to what is now town. I could see worlds still turning in your memory, as if the clock stopped in a hundred different places. I even recognise a few of the people caught here in this last place of green before the concrete and brick. It is a cruelty to take you from this bank above town. It is crueller still to take all this away. My mother thinks I should try to write some less heavy poems, and I have been trying, but they all seem to twist into the shadows.
I usually solve problems by letting them devour me. There are useful things inside wolves and shadows, sharp things with moonlight in the blades to show the way back out from the darker places in the bellies of beasts that perhaps may not be beasts once they’ve be carved into smaller, scurrier things that run rather from, rather than swallow all the things that shine.
And I wondered if the sight of me wavering excited you. Like a candle flame dancing, your palm held just inside the heat. Contemplating the risk of snuffing me out altogether. Extinguishing that light with one blow one fist closing tight. Did I excite? Not the exact word for tonight’s Quadrille prompt, but a form of it is there, and according to the rules that’s alright.
I braided a basket of my fingers, in case I was required to catch you if you fell from any sort of height or perhaps needed a boost to reach a shelf or a step on a ladder I could hold once I’d unwoven these hands to grip the rungs better if you eventually decide to climb.
The outcrop was low and Emile had to crouch for it to work as a windbreaker. Crouching made her thighs burn, but so did walking, and crouching in a low crag meant she could almost feel her face again. She unhooked the water-skin from her belt and weighted it in her hand. Tried to judge how much she would need to get her down the the mountain. More than she had. She put it back and swallowed her thirst. Ignored the wind stripped skeletons propped against the same crag, one holding onto the withered trunk of a sapling to stunted to reach beyond two foot. She closed her eyes to the wedding bands. These memories were left here with the trees, broken, dead, or dying. Emile stamped her feet and braced herself. She was not going to join them. She’d promised herself more. I’ve been trying to turn my attention back to my novel Darkened Daughter, and in doing so I’ve been working on some new characters to incorporate to the redraft. Yesterday I played …
Someone comments that she’d never really worked. Not a proper job. Not a nine-to-five, sit down at a desk, shuffle the papers, count the numbers, find the words sort of job. She just ‘helped’ her parents in their shop, then ‘helped’ her husband. At Christmas my mother, her daughter, takes the carving knife. Skills become ingrained when you park a pram in the backroom of a butcher’s. They get passed down on generation to the next. Not always perfect, but present like the bark and callous of their hands when they take mine. Evidence of everything they’ve given. She says she never really worked a proper job, not a nine-to-five, like I have. Passes me the cutter for scones that won’t be as good as her mother’s, because she hasn’t got the knack like she had. She was only ever ‘helping’ not working, not like her daughter does, not like I do. She was only ever there in the background. Autumn is not Spring, but beauty still grows in her and there is worth there.