The Pardoner

By | 1 February 2017

with thanks to Dustin Brookshire

On the wall a small plate
of sunshine altered position
bit by bit. He’d’ve had me pick from Gothic headstones.
While he washed I turned the deco doorknob with
military precision. Briefs, wallet, keys.

Though on ice, To the One Who Raped
is prostrate with hope. My own mind
is my own church. In the sack
I’m no longer an African cat.
Night terrors give way to dreams.

The fever’s gone
(Zelitrex a Zeppelin,
ring-shouts at subtropical altitude),
the long weekends (smashed
on Yellow Birds,

Horse’s Necks, Elephant Gimlets,
the vapours of
fags/cowboy killers/cigarettes,
Tina’s champagne paws—

to crystallise hair).
I’ve eaten
my fill of sleazy smiles,
handkerchiefs rippling

denim pockets, matchsticks
thrilling skin. Entirely
guilty of subversion
I’ve murmured ‘He loves me, he
loves me lots’ while quilting Grindr’s fakery.

I’ve dreamed of amnesia.
I’ve dreamed of Major Nelson. Here,
I’ve dreamed of seven hours’ revenge, criminal
of zero variety—
a kelson of the creation hooked

into him, into him, into him.
Such sweet thunder—
Amazonian queen, I ration
Brookshire’s chapbook. Away
with the houselights. Douse impossibility.

Candles laugh in the face of the dark.
Post-burial, what’ll I eat,
will I starve. The wattle spills globose light
over Ariel—Ariel, Ariel, Ari, he
who drugged and raped and pardoned me.

Note: a terminal from Sylvia Plath’s ‘The Jailor’, with phrases from Paine’s Age of Reason, Whitman’s Leaves of Grass and Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.


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