6th Apr 11
and in the shop…
pamphlet collection –
“Pillars of Salt”
in anthologies –
“The Best British Poetry 2011”
What stuck in my mind was the x-ray
of a hand of teeth gripping the skull.
What stuck in my head was a broken carat
of windscreen glass, crowned in secret
in a shrink of scar. Then seventeen years
until at last it chose to leave me here,
a hotel above grey-washed Toronto.
When I lifted my hand, it fell, a diamond
from the devil’s spittoon, onto the crested paper,
the nailtip of a stalactite breaking.
Did I feel alone without my tough glass star,
its chunk of crystal shining by the bone?
It had brought me more darkness than light
so, for all our long companionship, I let it go.
If we meet again I shall set it to burn
until the prints peel from my fingers,
and the streetlights paw at the night, shiver
on and off, and the neighbours
wake, cricked in a strobe of doubt.
After seventeen years it worked itself out.