12 Degrees & Skiving

what began as year-long challenge has become perpetual until further notice

the elm

she was at the funeral
dressed in spring green
wisped hair clasped back and high
80 at first glance, 90 at another
spilling tubes of cigarette ash
over shoes and rugs
cleared her throat
from time to time

i hadn’t seen her before
no one knew who she was
there for the salmon sandwiches perhaps
a neighbour, the childless shopkeeper
of the shop that hasn’t been there for 40 years
or maybe untallyable
just comfortable with the hollow
nestled in the gouge
the dimple in the armchair

her cheer warmed me
bird-bright amongst those straight mouths and whispers
the voices that fall into themselves, absorbed
like in a dress store or a soundproof room
joy smoked about her ankles
like cats at breakfast

I saw she was as beautiful
as any floral-painted skull
as lovely as those chandeliers in that church in Prague
bones and bones and bones,
those stacked brackets of families
and them, all gone

she warmed me
she settled my stomach and my score with death
and i knew she was the elm that has trailed me all my life
hers the unsplittable wooden window
between here and there and here
the ripples about her smile
scratched at my glass, said,
soon, soon enough, all
but not yet, don’t forget
they wait, they wait

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This entry was posted on June 11, 2013 by in Poetic forms and tagged , , , , , , , , .
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