This article is taken from Stand 231, 19(3) September - November 2021.

Stephen Grace Units of Measure
It is six-twenty-three in early January
and I am afloat in the middle
of a bus whose glass has started
to shimmy and shake, its panes
alive with the sound of tiny tiny rain
going pitter-patter down its outsides
each drop no more wide than a lentil
bean or poppy-seed, their streams
unfurling in the early morning
moonlight like breakers on a beach.
And did you know the moon is running
away a millimetre and more
every day so that by the time you
have mushroomed up to the size
of a lemon or a lime or a peach
there’ll be a whole extra thumbnail’s
worth of distance between us
and her, nights that bit shorter, tides
that much slacker, and what happens
next when her big beaming pristine smile
slips out of the sky for the last time
and all this lovely watery darkness
is just a memory that no-one knows
how or why or where it all goes –
only that it does always go
sliding over the shell of a bus
that floats down roads at six-twenty-four
in the morning in early January –
is a question that nobody knows.

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