• Vol. 05
  • Chapter 02
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The Christmas Chrysalid

You see my pure acetylene glow there I am smooth and, rather than blinking like a mewling baby into a first light, I face it confidently Look at my face It’s hard to avert a gaze, I expect, because of the softness of skin, unfurrowed by care You want to run your finger across my cheek, don’t you sweet darling A pelt like alabaster But I’d not advise a touch And anyway, you can’t escape now from where I’ve put you Neither can she No reach for you Days before, I’d been banging pots and looking at grey hairs ‘Christmas shopping’ you said: ‘Oh yes,’ I thought, ‘Oh yes: I can tolerate this because I’ll be bought something beautiful and he’s so handsome Everyone says so’ But really, as I fought sleet and a myriad people, never basking in those festive sounds, or scenting with happiness the smell of mulled wine – you remember In the Abbey Square against the sparkles of Advent as the choirboys sang – well, I knew Saw myself for what I was Correction: saw myself through your eyes I was, as I’d heard you say before of women, losing it Whereas before, you longed for me, breasts high, all the things you commended me for Such integument (not that you’d known this word) and the sashay I had, watching me from behind All those enticements When we met How things change I became a nag That sex It dried up and what was I She who did and cared and bought and fought Whose sashay had departed for shuffle; whose integument was hard old whore-hide Who watched, in a tired old cliché, the opportunities desiccate Invisible But there’s more than one side to not being seen When you are invisible, your spectation is better And while you lured and played and thought, ‘Ah well, still carping on, but she’ll never know!’ and your pretty little trinket girl clinked on your arm and looked like tinsel, well now, as I said, you did not see me as I was I've history, you know I change, if I have to My pockets and the books you laughed at – yes; Tinsel laughed and fucked; she did not read: there’s sneering but ho ho ho, boy –


The Christmas Chrysalid

those things are full of spells and hexes and words so beautiful they’ll eat you up Which, as you gather, they did Somewhere in the background, in the lilac room behind the pure acetylene woman whose skin you long to touch, there’s you I wove you into the heart of a star A fine amaranthine one and she is in there with you – but I’m not a savage Look how gorgeous your confinement is! And there I am I’ve emerged, growing, hungry, for the new year, the Christmas chrysalid you never expected A spell for you, then a present for myself Haven’t decided on the hair yet, but My God can you see my eyelashes