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Baggage

You caught me as I swung the box into the bin
“But they’re broken”, I whined
“Nothing is that broken”, you laughed
“Look”, I said, opened and showed my box to you
You pulled from it limbs and heads
String and rubber bands


Compared, paired, and snared pieces
Until you had something to show me
“That looks ridiculous”, I laughed
“But it stands up”, you cried victoriously
“Okay then, what shall we call it?”
“It?” you sneered incredulously, “Can’t you see it’s a he”
“What shall we call he”, I surrendered
With triumph you sighed “my portrait of you”.
Fiona is alien

Staring out from the roof
through the scaffold of the gas regulator
towards the cubist Christmas lights
and blinking beacon of the docklands
Fiona’s swelling front
Puckered in the autumn air

The winking lights of aeroplanes
drifting through sparse stars
we talked on feelings, energy, and eastern promise.
Moody pigeons swerved to avoid us
awaited our retreat from cramped sloping roofs

On the street below, chatter rose and fell
as cars creaked around uphill corners
You advocated pyramids, crystals, desert markings
I contemplated twinkling reflections on the canal

You mocked my descriptive words
demanded things and emotions
So we looked up and debated
lights, stars, visitors, and animated metals

You agitated for a full sky
using probabilities, radar, and rural landings.
I mocked and mind wandered
I cracked pistachios as you demanded answers

You’re anxious for signs and intimate probes
I’m happy with whiskey and the view from my roof
Small Chloë

The coffin in front of us is so small
and I wonder if she is in there at all

My cousin sits in front of me
her delicate collar trembling
clasping Chloë’s sister’s hand too tightly

I reach out and squeeze her shoulder
For comfort, but I feel embarrassed,

why am I sitting in the second row
where are the rest of my family

Chloë’s school friends take it in turns
to tells us their favourite memories of her

Sobbing is scattered
through the creaking discomfort of the church
heavy bodies settle against hard wood
shift and resettle

I remember the last time I saw Chloë
one of the few times I did see her
and the only time I played with her.

Remember her flushed sore face
The small glass of champagne
bumbling against her cherry lips
The silken bandanna
wrapped about her hairless head.

I feel uncomfortable
and watch my mother’s eyes wet
and dripping onto her powered cheeks.

I feel like a visitor
watch the priests pained pious face
her head cocked to the side
listening to the children talk and break and sob

Then I look back to the coffin so small
and I wonder if she is in there at all