Artwork by Jane Burn
A brick remembers
how it transformed into feathers
for the carnival, finger smudged
whistles, how each recess in the city
smirked rainbows, a cornice
swigged brew, hidden rivers
pressed play, and yes, it chafed
at the display, used to being
kneaded and bonded in structure,
but only for a second before
firing into the air.
Raking in signs of early life: collapsed
arks, kicked in the groin. Sponged soil
swallows the spineless; rain faxes
the dead long after we don’t. Shoaled
history, you’re slumped waiting for
the grass to dry – ravaged raw slabs
with corridor breath. Eyes uncorked;
a four-legged beast, a table without seats.
Crab-crouched crates, not sure why you wait
as a huddle – the secret to eternal youth is
to be singular. I count the spots where suede
puckers, where your mouth’s left unzipped
for Richard Fortey
Some places rehearse the same
landscape over and over / Stromatolites
timehop to the Precambrian / I scroll
through the same living skin
find your comments ossified / We used to think
the earth was as old as a cooling-off period
but I’ve changed my mind / Other architectures
have rusted under the sun / Their to-do lists
last for centuries / Tracks are left for the next
caretaker / Not much is known
as to how the mug grew
on the placemat / Everything I do
is sulphur-stained / Life grows
in extremes / I share this memory
with you /
High Wycombe, 2 February 2014
Limestone gags the ring roads of the soil,
…………their secret limits – above it, cars park on the hardboiled
tarmac, not knowing how quickly it’ll give out; how quick
…………swallowing occurs even on days easy to decrypt
when you forget that the mines dug for chalk have scrawled
…………exclamation marks across the hills, how weather bottled
its feelings for too long and must empty the scrabble bag
…………on the board: ‘gluttony’ joins ‘body’ to create ‘gimcrack’;
how, finally, the owner was in the gap between insurance
…………policies: footnoted history and an unwritten dance
whose steps are full of earth, a snore of stars and bones
…………waiting to recycle her, the car, into correspondence.
Instructions for Restoring a Friendship
Boil until the core separates
from the build-up of years
– check it for damage.
Anything can be repaired.
Anything but this.
I’ve filled my inbox with salt
to preserve your emails.
They will hold fine.
When we separated, the knives warped
and stopped the drawer from closing.
In the past, I will spend more and be less.
In the future, I am quieter.
The dress you gave me has started a committee.
Your flowers hate me.
I still sing lyrics to the wrong tune,
and imagine you, furiously rescuing
each damaged chorus in your hands,
like a small snail.
Claire Trévien, Astéronymes (Penned in the Margins, 2016)