(f) fabulous ones

8 November 2015

I

By the time you read the word ‘pebble’
you’re already thinking ‘water’
thinking ‘skin’
thinking ‘one is
not enough’.
To collect something frees it
from the need to be useful—gilded
boats and eggplant robes, sugar
dandies and scented locks—

but if only, you think
if only and instead
the words had come from that croupier.
If he’d written
‘a thesaurus is better
than a dictionary’
then you might take pebble to mean
not ‘moon’ but ‘coin’, not ‘a circle
without blemish’ but ‘darker
when wet’.
Cast over the harbour
the paper swells
the body as surface
and a single black swan
awaits your reply.

II

Not from hunger, so much as sympathy
plucking leaves of watercress.
Not shimmering, but with satin plumes
plucking leaves of watercress.
Not in silence, but without song
plucking leaves of watercress.
Not with teeth, but the whole neck
plucking leaves of watercress.
Not for fear of thorns, but retribution
plucking leaves of watercress.
Not imaginary, but artful still
plucking leaves of watercress.
Not finished, simply unfolding
plucking leaves of watercress.

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