Wednesday 22 April 2020

Writing: a story of you


A story of you

I am meant to be writing a story, so I’ll write a story of you. 


You are underground,
growing into spores and fungi, 
little pieces of green. 
You will flower into poppies
and daisies and everything 
but lilies, you leave those for funerals.
You uncurl from the ground
like the screams of children
which are actually birds
calling to each other 
from across the common. 
You are a cocoon of heat
which you will only share with
the orchids and the ants 
and the worms. 
I push you into the ground
as a bulb and let the sun warm
your bulby head;
my mother, my children, 
my life’s work, my dinner, 
grown from death to little death
in the air pockets under the topsoil.


You are a sunflower. 
You are the seed in the centre of a sunflower. 
You are the erasure of light and substance 
that exists in the blackness 
at the centre of a sunflower. 
You began as a tiny seed, one of a collective. 
You grew bigger and bigger, 
developed a hard shell, 
shone out darkly in a mass of buttery yellow 
at the height of summer. 
To the pupils of tired eyes, you are unexceptional. 
Others see the deliciousness 
of extracting you by the fingernails 
and feeding you, one by one, 
to the birds.


You are autumn. 
You are words in a stream of oranges, yellows, and reds. 
A tree-lined lane and strokes of paint on paper.
A carpet of leaves impossibly orange, still, 
and therefore untrodden,
so if I came any closer I would wear you down
so I can only love you from a distance, now,
and soon the rain will brown you anyway,
and then the frost will hold you
in premonitions of winter.


You are a bird.
You are a bird nesting in the crock of my heart. 
You are warmed by my ventricles massaging your bony claws. 
Held like this, in my centre, you are soundless. 
Feathers can’t rustle with nothing to rustle against, 
and the sound of a bird moving in a bath full of feathers
 is the softest unsound I can imagine. 
Now you are a male bird, a baby pheasant, 
rescued from a fox and left in need of nurturing. 
Your fragility makes a mockery of masculinity 
and in the hot orange glow of a winter fire 
I want to cry at the thought of 
cold on your back and heat on your face. 
You are nesting, sleeping, maybe 
forever or maybe gathering strength for mating season 
when memories cross-pollinate
 and bring new remembrances, 
imagined memories, rewritten in a new light, 
in morning light, in the light of a smudged kitchen window
 or the light filtered through the yellow petals 
of a man-sized flower, 
high above the fence, 
none of which is real, but is anything, really? 
Except the soundless rustle 
and the closed eyes. 
The little bird. 
The beating chest.
The scaly pink eyelids 
and the gentle thought 
of a pursed beak, 
clicking occasionally, 
perhaps in dreams 
of flying or snow or dust baths 
or the light-grasping far reaches of the trees. 

First read in November 2019.

L x
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