I rushed in, dropped everything, read your note:
It said, “I’ve gone to find out about the mole God.”
Then the phone went. When I’d finished talking,
I thought of you, setting off in your safari hat,
crawling through all those tunnels—then stopping,
wondering if you were looking in the right place,
if the ground above was mole-equivalent to sky.
Instead of clouds you’d gaze at trees or traffic lights.
I read the note again, this time turned the page:
It said, “I’ve gone to find out about the mole God
put on my back! We’ll need to talk about it later.”
I think you already know where the mole-god lives.
You’re staring in its face. I wish you could’ve found
something brown and velvety, crowned with glory.
The man with the backpack of green things
walks down the path that crosses the earth.
He throws clover and grass on the track,
it grows up lush and sucks at his shoes
as he pushes them through the grass’s spit.
He strokes the silver ripple on the wheat,
bends and enters the arch of white thorn
as the flowers endlessly tighten their grip;
throws stars from his pack, and they stick
in the branches and make heaven for us.
He sprinkles bitter fields from his bag
some Wild Garlic or Old Man’s Beard,
burnt earth and stubble, many are fallow.
Then he’s gone, somewhere, down the road.
He’s emptied his backpack of green things.
“They’re weird, these people,
look in the box, it’s full of teeth.”
And he emptied the box of teeth
all over the bed.
He pulled out a drawer
and tipped the contents on the floor.
A pendant made of plastic
with a crab trapped inside it.
A small seal
made of real seal skin.
A badge that played a song
and lit up when he turned it on.
A postcard of dolphins at Knossos.
A photo of dolphins at the zoo.
Something that was very gooey
in a coin bag from the bank.
Caked make-up by Mary Quant.
A candle, a pencil, a thimble, a buckle.
An extremely small copy of Macbeth.
A card saying Happy Bithday, Mum.
He ripped open a bag and found
a plaster cast of someone’s teeth.
“They’ve got nothing, just nothing.”
He threw the teeth at the wall.
They left by the back door—
he threw my rubber gloves on the floor.
pbody4We are sitting, trying to touch, but not touching.
I want to say to you,
that your head seems perched on your neck.
Your chin looks strange—
your face looks like it could slip right off.
That you could wear your face like a badge,
on your jacket. You could work it with strings
and make it say you were happy.
All the time the real you would sit behind,
saying nothing, while your mouthpiece talked.
And the difference between the real you,
and your mouthpiece, would be the distance—
exactly equal to the distance between you and me.
When the world speaks to you or I speak to you,
you take no notice. I will take off your badge
and turn it around, so it is facing you.
And this time, you will hear it.
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