• Vol. 01
  • Chapter 11
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The zzz of crackle and distortion

They don’t love me,
these people.
The one combing my hair,
she and he, so smartly dressed,
hoping I may win a prize.
But I won’t, you know/
They’ll see the anxiety in her eyes,
and somehow they’ll know.

He was born as the long war was just coming to an end.
And she, she still stammers with the aftershocks of bombs.
These things can coat a life.

Last night, over curry and menthol cigarettes, they made the plans.
Discussing what time to leave, and how much leeway
to give the traffic.
There’s a lot of money riding on this.

They were up early, earlier than usual.
The day misty, the sun just barely puffing through the cold.
He’s had me three years; she came into our lives two years ago.
There’s so much hope riding on this.
Too much hope you know, I want to tell them that.
But no-one’s listening.


The zzz of crackle and distortion

The loudspeaker buzzes faintly.
Do they hear it?
The zzz of crackle and distortion.
My breed’s being announced.
He runs the brush through my fur
one last time.
But, he’s too anxious.
I want to tell him that.

I want to tell her
but she can’t look me in the eye.
We wait; paused on the cusp of something:
the train leaving at dawn one day,
her sad face looking through the window,
rain drizzling tears,
and he, another two years older.

Over coffee and cigarettes they fought
through the swirls of smoke
the ashtray a heap before them
of matches, butts, paper.
The air rank with discord,
they went to bed, aloof, alone
in their bed, having made their plans before.
It’s all there – I want to tell them that.
This moment, and the next, and the one after,
and a month, and a year ahead, it’s all there.
written in the wind and their faces.
In the crumpled ash, and the curry takeaway
containers mouldering in the rubbish.


The zzz of crackle and distortion

But they can’t listen.
We wait,
listening above the sibilant speakers
as he brushes me one last time.
It all unspools
as the judges advance toward us.