Capturing the Thing You Desire
Found him in the garden,
a ball of soot with retractable claws
that I put inside my shirt
and went to show Miss Morton.
Her mother stood by a wall,
swinging chickens by their legs.
Hello Lynn, she said, I’m bashing
brains today. It’s Tuesday.
I’ve got a mowdy, I said, trying
not to look at the spewed brick.
Above my belt, the body still.
I pulled the long slack pelt out.
It didn’t move. Stupefied,
I stood in doubt. He’s dead, pet,
Mrs Morton said. Give it here.
I’ll tell Margaret that you’ve been.
We travelled to Kyoto on a bus we nearly missed.
The overhead lights shone in our eyes
down the expressway. Next day, we visited
the temple famous for its three streams:
knowledge, longevity and love.You can only
have one, you said, preferring the bare bones
of Ginka-kujii, the silver temple. I do now, but
then I loved the opulent shimmer of the pavilion,
burned by a monk in his orgy of violence.
I understand this brought him closer to the gods.
That night, we watched bronze and verdigris
shadows thrown into the ponds by the pagoda.
You bought a replica for me. It’s still on my desk.
Our train home shuffled into the suburbs of Tokyo.
I can smell the metal corridor where an old guy
with a gold tooth wished us luck and happiness.
Reach for the Sky
You’re on your knees like Douglas Bader —
and start to paddle yourself to the sofa.
Go on, then, I say, and you stop. You’ve
left your track pants in bed. I grab under
your arms and heave: you’re sweating
with cold, unforced panic, like a dog
dragging its shattered rump toward home.
You’re sitting, smiling, crisis over. I walk
into the kitchen, Jesus Christ! At midnight,
watching crap on the TV, I know this is
how it will be without you. Put one foot
in front of the other, I tell myself. Nowhere
to go. Yet everything’s changed by lifting
a slippery human body as if it were my own.