Skinflint

1 March 2015

At 2:40 his head is cleared
though he is dazed and bathed
in wrong noise, he cannot yet
open his eyes though the light
is less blinding than the earth.

At 3:18 he raises
his arm to wipe his eyes, still half
interned and bearing
only soft clothes. This is not
a birth but an escape from death:
sorting the equivalences
is only one of the tasks.

I am waiting for his total emergence in pain
and press his form where no one has poured water
or brought warm towels. Home is a grave and among the things
it buries is differentiations,
but he is not thinking of them his head is full of broken images
that cannot be sorted by the divas of sympathy.

He is not cute dogs that speak in baby languages.
He is not the NYT debate about whether poetry matters.
Skinflint and dizzy with cartridges
like lions on a hypo
we take out our eyes
are virgin eyes
and put them on paper towels to dry.

The red route through
indifference is equivalence
the red route through
equivalence is distinction
the red route through
distinction is action.
The red route through
one house into another
is taken by giant robots
antennae popping like eyes
from their backs, for the homestoi
is the space of politics and my sitting
room can be a smoothed space,
as the sweet grass mowed.

So what if my son came up
through the water with his eyes
open. So what if he breathed
on the NHS and his cord
wrapped twice around his neck
was gently and silently slipped off
as I dug him up ferried him up
to graze and hear him
singing ‘up above the world’
at 7:45. There are brands of noosing
for rubber necks can be snapped
if braced only by inexpert love:
the first missiles knock
the second collapse
distinctions between storeys.

My other letter today was
to Meg Whitman
of Hewlett Packard and the board
of the USS. My other son was
trying to remember
who is parents were,
when the sky fell and the air
snuffed him into the loop
of his representative
his improbable survival.


This poem was first published in For the Children of Gaza,
ed. Matthew Staunton and Rethabile Masilo (Onslaught Press, August 2014).

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