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Cloud               One of Us

         Salt and Vinegar Passion           Russian Doll

 

Cloud

 

Today a cloud the size of a mill has descended and I am breathing its cotton dust deafened by the chatter of its looms.  

You point at me making hand gestures the shapes of moons and mouths.  You are the other side of the room, light from the windows shattered by stones and pellets, crow wings flapping out omens, calling us dead.

We might be dead today, if being dead can be temporary, we might have stopped the beat of our hearts as if a key could be turned, a machine snapped shut.  

I watch your mouth form half-words, your arms slow-wave messages as though you might reach me.

 

Annie Clarkson

first published in Sleepingfish: Issue 0.9375

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One of Us

 

we walked in the mulch of damp-trodden needles      paths fallen red and broken     

plank bridges with moss trees swaying above us         bare and disorientating         

 

we found one tree split open         its wide wood legs splayed

cracked skin                             left dead

 

you watched            as though you knew the strength it took 

the breaking open of a tree     

as though it was one of us

 

Annie Clarkson

in collection Winter Hands, 2007, Shadowtrain Books

ISBN 978-0-905127-13-2 

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Salt and Vinegar Passion

 

Saturday love on the brink

of ruining me, wanting more

than a kiss in the bus shelter, more

than a fumble in a back seat:

 

chaos and casual lies,

drunk wrestling in a party of coats

twists and tangles of hair

and fingers and feet;

 

nights wrapped up

in lager-stained kisses

the scratching of each otherís scars

in early hours back streets;

 

that slow rub into Sunday mornings

dawn pulling on eyelids,

life sliding into a cycle

of chip paper imprints.

 

Annie Clarkson

in collection Winter Hands, 2007, Shadowtrain Books

ISBN 978-0-905127-13-2

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Russian Doll

 

I was the only Russian doll he ever knew. Found in his attic, hidden under scratched records, an umbrella with bent spokes and a jigsaw with five pieces missing.  

I was the one he talked to. He told me how he wanted to kick off his work shoes, slip his feet into thick socks, boots and crampons. He wanted to feel his eyelashes frost with snow, tears freeze on his cheeks, and his toes deaden from climbing mountains higher than he could imagine. He told me he wished he could find a woman who might listen to him as I did.

He wiped dust from my Russian dress. The patterns were faded, my face worn, the scar deep around my belly. I wanted him to touch my scar. I wanted him to know the doll inside me, who slept on Alessandraís pillow listening to her sob for her lover; the doll inside her who watched a surgeon pick a bullet from her loverís stomach; the doll inside her who felt the monsoon wind of his last breath. I wanted him to know the doll inside her, inside her and the smallest doll inside, the last one.

I was the only Russian doll he ever knew, the one he twisted apart at night.

 

Annie Clarkson

in collection Winter Hands, 2007, Shadowtrain Books

ISBN 978-0-905127-13-2 

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