180 degrees and the oven is damson.
It doesn’t take too much flummery
to keep Jack and Ivy on the edge
of their sweetbreads. Another minute
and they’ll syrup their tureen with bergamot
till the marrow exudes from their barberries.
I’m sorrel but you can’t clove the bowl
or borax the snipes with those greengages.
Legume yourselves to the parlor at once
and I’ll tripe you when they curdle.
For my mother
I am nine thousand
five hundred and fifty four
kilometres (as the crow flies).
If a crow were to fly that distance,
I would position myself upon its back,
my knees tucked tight under its wings,
my hands firm upon the black
and shiny feathers of its neck.
I’d feel every sinuous movement of
wing muscle, every strain and effort
needed for height and forward motion.
I’d look down upon the greens,
browns and reds of land below
and pass over blue oceans deep.
I’d see other sons and daughters
on the backs of bees, butterflies and cranes,
heading too, like I do, to their mothers,
to be home under the first wing
we have ever known.
Mum - my transport has just arrived.
Up and away dear crow!
Find currents of air and tail winds.
Slipstream clouds and glide
through pockets of air.
Carry me across the distance
and deliver me safe back home
for Mother’s Day.
they are not my words my inflection or even my tone
but instead are dragged screaming out of someone’s
book that I once flicked through not caring enough
to read end to end but instead skipped and danced
through all the pages just so it could sit proudly next
to the others like soldiers at attention on a high shelf
You letter the alphabet with your body
on the edge of the carpet, squeezed between
the coffee table and the tv. You are trying to do
a downward facing dog, or an inverted ‘v’,
or so you tell me. The cat looks on disapprovingly,
waiting for you to move from the cow to his own pose,
of which we see in the house daily, though not by you.
Other letters and animals are also on show,
though I question the alphabetica and the biologica
of some of them. I glance over the top of my book
just in time to see to you plank into a tortoise
and then stumble from a tree to become
a warrior queen.
Open a book. Open two books.
Read three lines from a poem
by Jenny Bornholdt;
the one about a duck
called Duck Three Ways.
One line per duck.
Put both books back.
Stand and scratch, glance
down at the snow covered head
asleep in the bed.
Move to the lounge, dragging slippers
from room to room to room.
Flick on the light. Somewhere dark
is a little brighter for it. Somewhere
light has had its brightness stolen.
Sit only to stand once again.
Scratch once again, an itch
that has been an itch for some time.
Know it will fade, just as the fog in my head will fade
Look down at my hands, they are like dad’s,
but his hold mine and mine hold the world.
Take the three strides
to the fridge, where that little something lies;
that cool little something
that will help
reaches into the oven
would have had
vying for my
able to say
I want to say