My hands are stained
The colour of butterfly peas
And butterfly wings
Iridescence on onyx
And the blue sapphires like eyes
Peering from between pale creases.
Did you think otherwise? I’m sorry
Apologies make people uncomfortable
Like the irises of a painting
Palms open containing evidence
Of all the insects I’ve crushed
Between these unwrinkled fingers.
The colour of death is blotched
Bruises grape-like growing on the exoskeleton
But you live in a world of fenced-off forests:
Your hands stain
The colour of my dead butterflies
Fingers pinching, constricting things to dust –
You know what I mean? No
Other person can understand what either of us
Hides inside our fists
But I understand
That my hands are stained
That you have stained them
Blue cottony threads
Snap half-mast on the way to
Silvery wings float off-planet
Slipping from grasping fingers.
I poured a bottle of death
Like cleansing solvent
A cork-stopped vintage fluid.
The shapes of faces
I only grasped skin-deep;
Of identification in the shredder;
It dissolved –
Left my workspace cleared, but
I did not dissolve myself.
I live in a room of ambiguous walls:
Walls bearing dubious expressions,
Where lines of light and dark are blending
Making it hard to make out friend or foe.
I don’t know what to make of this all.
I do believe the plaster paint
That peels when I’m not looking
Hides something solid, albeit
Of a different shade.
But when I chart a map of this place
The points swarm on the page, like ants
And the contours, they dizzy me;
So dizzying it is to map our shallow surfaces.
Between bleeding trees
I wander without a map
Only wind to guide me, and
Pale sun in often patches
Gold fragments on clay forest.
I won’t come out now,
It’s too soon – winter’s first snow
Is yet to fall here;
Shadows light the branching trees
Smearing away the dirt path.
They tell me death is the maker
Of all strength, corpses imbue me
With rigor mortis as they fall.
I do not accept this parting gift.
Letting it slide through gaps
Between translucent fingers.
They put a beat to my heartbeat:
A finger on the pulse of the world
Is a telephone line, I hang up.
I analyse literary lines, and find
They all say the same things.
I do not say anything.
I say: grief is an oscillating wave –
There is nothing I can save.
There is nothing I must save.
Excavating from the self, the monster,
Self sees Other with eyes of a monster.
Alone on spiraling paths they wander;
They’ve lost their map to an ancient monster.
Sifting through books, she tries to joss the
Fables the imposter has spun of a monster.
The thick purple dusk will lie and conjure,
But longer golden dawn lets in the monster.
Two clones – same bones, the flesh, systemic roster;
Which is truer? this itself, a monster.
I say, your mirror image will alter;
You best lie with weapons, await the monster.
We are difficult
puzzles by nature, wanting
to be solved – but how?
Now that fingers are swimming,
how can we unpick the sea?
Maybe we want things
without knowing what, my moon:
in a world of light feelings.
Sweet nighttime is running short.
They spend their lives
Trying to find
A rarer coffin
Trying to preserve
Their tastes and preferences
In the process of
Who will deny themselves
When where they will go
In the bruise of the deep blue sea.
Only the image of emptiness
How can I exist
So close to all this
But grasp at plain air
Eyes screwed unaware?
Of summer-golden colours
Glowing with the heat
With creatures multi-hued
Still I lie there
Dead and bare.