“After last night’s storm the tulip petals are strewn across the patio where they mortally fluttered.”- Church, Jim Harrison
I keep all my fallen petals
the bruised blooms most would discard
as too damaged for the vase
in the centre of the dining table
where the best silver is used.
No one calls a chrysanthemum whore
for the bee at its core
or whistles when lilac tumbles
between sheets of sedge and foxglove.
They are simply flowers.
Imagine being no less worthy
for want of expectations,
your only driving need
to turn your face towards the sun.
I find enough dregs in this coffee cup
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to stay past closing,
beyond the last click of the latch catching
and the solid drone of the dishwasher ending
the soft clink, clink, clink of glasses settling
back into their neat, tidy shelves.
We listen to the distant dissonant clamour
of other lingering loiterers,
drifting through honeyed darkness,
a slow breath seeping
out, out, out,
like a last.
My own chest filled with gurgle, and cackle,
a sunken, sodden conversation
I dread to dredge up.
Embellish the quiet with a sudden, empty sigh
your own tense shoulders easing
when I finally chose the word goodnight.
Poor girl, homestuck on chapel steps,
pin-plucked and nip-tucked
into her paper figure.
They read yesterday’s news
in the ink across her collar bone.
Her classified crowded slippers blister
red blotches panting ‘we’ll be in touch’.
So she tips between pavement cracks
split seams and spills out sand,
has to scour her hours from the floor.
Cello tape smile caught on a crinkle
till the man with a nail for a tongue
hammers her a better one.
He mistakes her legs for screwdrivers,
tries to put them back in their box,
then pets her like a bitch when she bites,
and asks if she’s learnt to beg,
just another mass produced misogynist
with his windup voice box
explaining to her what she should expect.
You come in wearing the morning’s work about your hands,
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and deep in the creases of your eyes.
Mud shucked in a brittle heap
you leave your boots at the door,
shed a pelt of polyurethane
its pockets of tags and split ended string.
Accept a breakfast well past your waking,
to watch your daughters rise sleep stained and stretching.
These gums are splinter strewn with pencil shards
from musing on ideas,
chewing the fat,
picking bones from the meat of a thought
until it sits on the page just right
stripped to sinew,
muscles drawn tight
in a few dangerous words.