By | 1 January 1998

This lithograph of four turtles – I’ve
carried it in my satchel for months, its corrugated edges
dig it into fingerpads as I search for
pens, lectures, tutorials, the thrust
of the treatise, dust from books
fifty years old masking synapses. I stroke their cool, smooth
shells, a wet nose against an indexed knuckle, a stringy tale taken
delicately between two fingers – secret comforts,
armour, amore. Is this how we are:
armoured, encompassed, all four directions or
(mocked) soup for the nouveau riche: crystal,
Royal Doulton, Irish Linen? and the door to our
boudoir left open, no room of our own –
a brother, an uncle, a sister, a grandmother snoring in
content We withdraw, fold into ourselves no matter
how much
we long for violation, to be ravished by
a moon descending in the shape of a swan, in the tender flesh of
a Nairobi spring. Is this what we
do? how we
interrogate any Fate that slips between the sheets with us,
awkward as a bicycle? one more year scraped back
to the canvas, gouged retribution, coy
as a Regency virgin, tortoise shell comb confining
a rope of hair

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