Three poems

From What I Remember

I snag out each fingernail, deflate my hand to a surgical glove,
roll my arms to the elbows like there’s work to be done.

I am, it turns out, a reluctant ghost. I am leaving my body
like I leave the house, arriving into every radiant room

asking after the remaindered names of my day’s things.
But there are parts of my body I never learned to name:

the spit and sound of my typing wrist, this wintered shin’s
roche moutonnée shine, my drawstring laugh,

these flashy spokes at my throat, that one dry eye
in the house. Gathering my legs to my chest, legs gathering

at my ankles, my body rolls a sticky question mark in our bed.
I am not sure what I will need. Phone wallet keys yes but

the skin sweats off my back like a breathless August cagoule
that only helped to keep the body’s weather so close so

you’d have pockets for these things you can name
and as the hood peels from my head I am handstanding

in the doorway of myself looking at what I will forget.
I am turned out, reluctant ghost, like a skinned rabbit

still and still joined to its own mouth by the fur of its mouth
before the blade nicks and for two small seconds my lips

are parting as if to speak or―and I worry there is no word
for this―my lips are parting from my lips as if to end a kiss.



Charm Against Wednesdays

To be mixed with sweet tea, ash and egg
and held under the tongue before lunch:
some rumour, ripe; must; the desiccated
zest of still early days; a fist of dust; stick
of lightning struck by a nettle; leftovers;
betony for bad dreams; poultice of dfgh
qwert on the sleeping cheek; soil carried
over from the previous week; for fatigue,
fennel seeds, salt, an antennae of thyme;
for the soft wound of hours, this voucher:
swallow, say ah and repeat three times
‘Wednesdays were named after a poet.’



Deep Field

Of course, by coincidence – no one would suggest otherwise – in the same ten days she wins
the goldfish she calls Engine who swims the window sill like an astronaut’s dream,
three hundred and forty two photographs are taken of the bright black sky.

To think of him now, little body of gelatinous stink just a forearm down and her lips
ushering a word so small and folded it barely held air.

Slowly lowering the spoon, she turns the earth.

On the other side of the soil, NASA’s x-ray observatories listen for rumours telling themselves
into gas lobes, red and burning with a forty-million-degree self-conscious agony:

someone’s talking about you, you know.

And true enough, it’s us talking over the credits, getting up to look, bending wounded
over that one dead pixel in the centre of the screen which overlaid every scene of the lovers
kissing in the dark with a distant family portrait of the entire observable universe.

When he stopped moving, his name was returned to her and she skimmed
both of them off the surface to examine the difference. The beautiful bowl was rinsed awake.
His body landed in the soil slightly bent, like a golden parenthesis, opening.