Bird has died of fear in her cage
cuttle bone’s harried
her mate’s chattering at his mirror
bashing the bell
our child studies ants migrating for water
she pincers a lagger and licks him all up
follows the rest to their nest with a stick –
it is her nature
they all die so easy
not like us
I’m reading my guts coiled in the usual
usual shapes but casting
a differing inference
People like us who read things into things,
Who really knows? What the hell?
You’re drinking in the kitchen,
the whites of your eyes roll back
like rearing stallions.
I want to know whose butts are in the yard
seeing we don’t smoke anymore?
They are burning leaves again, you say.
It’s a kind of meditation
inviting fire or keeping it away
getting rid of the rubbish
is an occupation
for these ends of days –
Dig a hole, I say.
The oil stain in the drive has Rorschach wings.
I scry the bathwater we kept for the plants.
The dog laps at it and growls,
I pull out the plug.
I can read the signs but can’t do anything
about them. The past is here and the future, so
I read the toilet bowl and the dirty
hand basin and the drips from the tap
are very telling
I don’t even need
to really see or listen
as the evidence is here.
Then I flush it away.
An ant holds a bead of water,
his mandibles quiver.
The dog is frothing with snail killer,
next door’s cat shat
in the kid’s sand pit.
The washing stinks— smalls, colours, whites,
delicates soaking, old blood
It’s getting hotter and we talk about rain
as if it is the only topic, rain or flood.
What we’d do if we got washed away.
How long we could hold our breath
what we’d grab on to.
Sarah St Vincent Welch
The Last Suburb
1 February 2016