• Vol. 06
  • Chapter 12

That Leg Follows Me Around the World

That leg follows me around the world
in purple-red-magenta-lit window displays,
stitching itself to a hundred thousand people,
and I think some of them might welcome it,
might harness its power for a short time,
but always, always it unpicks itself,
sags away, abandons them for a younger
or embeds itself in poetry.

It’s there in the old films too.
In light pushing through plastic, silver salts
and gelatin, to dash across the heights of a cinema
to paste that leg over a dusty screen; there it is,
coming out of a limousine, obscured by furs
and wide hats and the elegance of cigarettes,
steaming manholes, charcoal trees, lights of
skyscrapers blurred by soft focus.

Detectives stand over it.
They flip open notebooks and draw diagrams
of the scattering of fabric through grass,
down an alley, embedded in soil,
and the leg is zipped up tight and stored metal-cold
in a bank of deep drawers, where white uniforms
plump and paint, and someone back at the office
writes a pamphlet to warn children
that: the leg is coming!


That Leg Follows Me Around the World

But it also runs marathons.
The world over, it leaps with joy,
landing in water, dust, on pavements,
in flowers, kicking footballs, covered in mud,
it has gone to space, it has shaken under surgeons
in their twelfth hour, it is the landing place of toddlers,
it moves in time to music, it is loved
and traced and kissed, and it stretches itself
now towards the fire in the hearth.