• Vol. 09
  • Chapter 02
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If I were made of copper

I would not age well. Turquoise forming –
not lyrical veins down my body, meaningfully
etched, but bulbous corrosion at every joint.
No healing properties for me. Each morning I wake
a statue. Walk through the day a statue. Turquoise tears
etched on coppery face, collecting at edges
of chin, elbows, eyes. I corrode corrode
corrode. Therapists want to saw me off
at the head. Therapists say: drink this formula,
this graph, this table, let me shine
lights in your eyes to heal your complex
trauma. My metal refuses to polish. I leave
the therapists. Drag my crying sawn-off head
through streets. Therapists say, I will close
my file on you. What they really say:
you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t
make her drink. No, you can’t make me drink
from poisoned pastel lagoons. Let me run,
run, run.

1

Animal Earth

Slip clop, buck, chuck, wind in my face, animal earth.

Let go.

Cold cage blue, a dark corner, inaudible whispering
Your breath is hot, as hot as my fear.
You will take me to the edge of this decay,
You will take me over the edge to the bare bones.
Knotting with you the past and the present.

Let go.

A black lick.
A crash in the night
A careful colliding, distorted lines, folding in on one another.
And then there is You.
Quietly You.

This surrendering.
A purr, slower, smoother than melting muscle.
Drip down. Lower your head to mine. A golden hair, an organised sun-lit knowing.
Your sparkling eyes cuddle mine.
I could sleep here, I think.
In this place I am the wind.

2

Panto/mine/horse

What is            off the screen
be_hind           the       camera
and hidden      is         often
susurrus                       with     colours.

A         single  body    /quadruped
two actors        in         one costume
co_operate       and      synchronize
                        movement
The front end              /           The back torso.

Researchers     grow    stem     cells     in a lab
some_where    in         a          petri dish
gro_wing         around
and around      a          formaldehyde  
mandala.          Head first.       That is.

Stem    cells  manipulate         themselves.
Heart   muscle   blood  and     nerve
                  implantedintoaperson
much/can/be/taken.

The clerk asks a secretary to send in the pantomime horses.

Two horses or four cells in two horse costumes and one apocalypse             dance in.

The lead horse explains they have to let one of them go.

The banker concludes they must fight to the death for it.

3

Bronze

Shortly after we had woken you persuaded me to head to the woods, the early dawn light a cheap draw. That morning the air was wet, the open bedroom window had let slip that the rain had been steady all night. The damp gravel underfoot deadened the sound of our steps out of the house. Let’s go through the cemetery, you had suggested, choosing the shorter path; it took us through a kissing gate. I went first, you followed; you stopped though, I heard you, to catch whether I might linger in the hinged enclosure, to make something of the moment. I sashayed through determinedly, keeping my back to you. A wall.

The nettles, abundant irritations, were unforgiving. We took the muddied trail, a meagre clearing, that offered some respite. The woods came into view quickly, on the turn of a corner, in some ways too soon, so I decided we should take the longer route. Besides the path ahead was reassuringly even, reason enough for me to scupper your plans. Let’s turn off here, I suggested — precisely as I did so. Now we passed the stables, crossed a courtyard of worn paviors and cobbles. Workman’s tools, hoe, shovel, rake, were tidily stacked in a wheelbarrow parked against a low tower of bricks. A slim fault in the earth and we had made it to the field, our detour to the copse.

It wasn’t September yet but there was the trick of colour. The bronze fringe along each serrated edge of the hornbeam’s fall distracted me as I scuffed through the grass; long, arching blades. We avoided cobwebs, horizontal lattice pads, shyly translucent under the brief sun. There was a wooden fence marking a paddock. I looked across, spotting an Oldenburg.

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