in my uncomfortable six-foot small grave,
I lay sulking about a somewhat too short-lit
life both fruitful and dutiful.
It was death it was death like an inbreath fully inhaled
in the grief of the world when at last
there began to emerge a way out, alas
the in-snowing silence made any description difficult.
No eyes no matches and yet mathematically speaking
I could still reach at a stretch a waspish whiteish
last seen outline any way up, which could well be my own
were it only a matter of re-folding.
So I creased I uncreased and the next thing I knew
I was pulled from the ground at the appointed hour
and rushed to the nearest morgue to set out yet again
from the bed to the floor to the door to the air.
And there was the car still there in its last known place
under the rain where I’d left it, my husband etc.
even myself, in retrospect I was still there
still driving back with the past all spread out already in front of me.
What a refreshing whiff with the windows open!
there were the dead leaves twitching and tacking back
to their roosts in the trees and all it required
was a certain minimum level of inattention.
I tell you, for many years from doorway to doorway
and in through a series of rooms I barely noticed
I was humming the same tune twice, I was seeing the same
three children racing towards me getting smaller and smaller.
This tale’s like a rose, once opened it
cannot reclose, it continues: one morning
one terrible morning for maybe the hundredth time
they came to insert my third child back inside me.
It was death it was death: from head to foot
I heard myself crack with the effort, I leaned and cried
and a feeling fell on me with a dull clang
that I’d never see my darling daughter again.
Then both my sons, slowly at first
then faster and faster, their limbs retracted inwards
smaller and smaller till all that remained
was a little mound where I didn’t quite meet in the middle. <
Well either I was or was not either living or dead
in a windowless cubicle of the past, a mere
8.3 light minutes from the present moment when at last
my husband walked oh dear he walked me to church.
All in one brief winter’s day, both
braced for confusion with much shy joy,
reversed our vows, unringed our hands
and slid them back in our pockets God knows why.
What then what then I’ll tell you what then: one evening
there I stood in the matchbox world of childhood
and saw the stars fall straight through Jimmy’s binoculars,
they looked so weird skewered to a fleeting instant.
Then again and again for maybe the hundredth time
they came to insert me feet first back into nothing
complete with all my missing hopes—next morning
there was that same old humming thrum still there.
That same old humming thrumming sound that is either
my tape re-winding again or maybe it’s stars
passing through stars coming back to their last known places,
for as far as I know in the end both sounds are the same.