Postcards from the Bottom of the Well

By | 1 July 1997


No water here where dust is thick
and even patented. Her lepidopterist’s
eyes quivering behind brambles of jewelry
like an aphrodisiac for the terminally
numb. She listens to the whimpers
of broken-necked birds and thinks
of Latin names pinned to specimen boards.
A horripilation of moths drink
the dried saliva from her lips;
her face the pallor of the drowned.
No pencilled message and no subtext.
Too stingy even to buy a stamp. Here
we have an accurate depiction
of weariness, the solid memory of cushions.


You hang on those salted beachside walls,
fading in all seasons’ weather, hovering
over the mute phone at the top of the stairs.
Your crossed eyes the only thing
retaining any colour, other than a bruised
suggestion at your throat. The pursed lips
like the diagonal strike of a pawn
within the circumference of your face.
But it is the eyes which bind,
always at the pinnacle, beyond
the reach of water, whom everybody hated
that lived there, their red intensity lost.
On my blind side, unnoticed, they have blended
chameleon-like into subsequent walls


At last the surface of water
is manifest, though it could be the sky.
Unseen mosquito larvae frenetic
in the shade of a bridge. Punctured
membranes of publicised dreams
litter the stillness and eventual peace.
A floating spider poised on the lake’s
meniscus. Reflections of willows
conjure quiet violence, mud settling
on the bottom, a school-bag filled
with stones, the ripples dissipating
after a swamp-hen has shrieked across
the dinner plates of water lilies
clattering into the reeds

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