You were always older than any of us expected,
sallow since the first photograph;
hair glowing translucent through the dimness and the dark,
red curtains showing through the back of you
while a sunset tries to flood the gaps between your bones.
I heard your voice today
growing into the room and rusting as it reached us.
You would have loved to know, we said,
just how much we’ve all grown
since those old bones were flooded.
You’d have loved to know
how many of us have your brow or don’t.
You didn’t crackle in the past
where my mother sounded small –
you were our giant, gently creaking,
and would have loved to know.
Flies are all over your living memory
and you’re disappearing like a dot to dot in reverse.
I play and reply what’s nearly your voice,
but in truth it could be anyone’s.
It’s just another part that couldn’t be photographed.
And if I was the double of your lost daughter
I wasn’t to know.
If you’d left through the screaming front door again
you might have been the one to brush my daughter’s hair
so it wouldn’t pull.
Our family might have made four of a kind
with youngest and oldest oddly aligned,
but fear of modern space and the noise that fills it
creased your face until you felt it –
crossed out crows’ tracks from each smile,
powdered you magnolia pale
and it was decided.
The sea is not just a shade of blue
but the cracked mirror of a monster.
In this lasting mood
where arm spans muddle to make a truth,
where the yarn splits double
we can be a little bit new –
hand print on Earth’s most frozen mountain,
human ash strewn over secret snows.
One can never corrupt the other
because the mountain has moved to marry the two.
In this lasting mood
you melt the wax onto the rare fabric
we have found to live through.
Open Windows or The Maximum
With the weather almost finding itself,
the rain always beside itself,
our skylight’s been homing the night inside.
The weather’s been dropping in like the friend
who mistakes politeness for patience,
who doesn’t know
when there’s blind comfort to be found in code.
Each morning is as old as all our yesterdays:
it’s been eleven days since I touched your back,
sure palm on safe plains,
lost map between landmarks of shoulder blades.