Poem: Inventory

We hollow out the attic; become a pair of sparrows

chasing a summer that pricks our tongues. Above, the

rain sells our secrets in whispers.

You move as though your ears can’t close.


Neat lines of cardboard meddahs spill tales from

folded tongues.  Exposed to time again their children tremble –

our fingers reach out, but it’s under your nails they hide.

Touching what you touch.


When the sun has moved beyond our estimations,

we eat sandwiches from the supermarket;

something not offered by your parents –

that feels important today.


The final bag is scrapbooks. You speak of

grass harbours, where you’d run until

your stomach ached and the air grew quiet.

Then you grow quiet,

As if that, too, is being reassessed.


We are given the spare room, where the sheets already

carry an imprint. I listen to your breathing, how it sounds

like those boxes and bags are too full.

Above my head the wallpaper is peeling. My fingers

feel false as I push the years

back into place.


I can’t do it like you can.

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