Eighteen winters on, I find your jet-black
hold-up in my box of old remarkables,
the rubber garter still with spring in it.
I drape the stocking long on the bed
and try to imagine your pale slender leg
filling it toe to knee to thigh and beyond
in a matter transmitter reconstitution
of you with a physical copy that holds
your consciousness, your memories,
your tenderness, your wit still dry –
while out in the real, the original you
has surely diverged in directions I can’t
follow: some of your people passed on;
you a mother, an aunt or alone; and every
cell in your body, twice overwritten.
If that you can bear to think of me
it may be with disdain for who I was
at the end but listen, my old love,
he has been replaced so many times –
no longer that young cripple who,
out of repression and pain, cracked
your heart and in its fracture fatally
punctured his own. So far undone is he
that even teleport could never bring us home.
Not a Bird
Ciao Bella Metropolis. I order the pizza bianca.
Then I whip my Anglo Americans off to look you
in the eye but you deflect my beam by turning on
your Merlot, staring down your own gaze frowning
up. Trying to hide your gratitude. Sure you’ve an idea
of what I am about to say but please, don’t mention it.
Make nothing of my sacrifice.
Just now I heard a plane
go down, hundreds of innocents screaming as the brace
position failed them. The aquiline nose-cone of the DC-10
crumpled on the runway. Shockwaves splintered back along
the body of the bird, ripping the wings away, crushing the pods
– the tires burst – pop-pop! – great balls of fire flushing the cabin
with lightspeed inferno and I, I could have saved them but you,
well, you needed to meet. See how much I think of you, Miss Lane.
Toss the dead babies into the furnace.
Their fumes we will capture
to waft from our thuribles.
Throw the sick babies in with the sewage.
First we will gather and filter their tears
to power our petitions.
Snip babies’ fingers and slice off their toes.
Such innocent flesh
we will press into host.
Cut babies open and rip out their innards.
The pulp in their tummies,
we’ll offer to succour the poor.
Hack babies’ tongues off and burn them in jars.
We will raise these as lanterns
to light the Camino.
Carefully peel away baby-smooth skins.
We will sew them together
for chasubles, cassocks and habits.
Shave all the baby-fine hair from their heads.
We will sell it to plump up the pillows
for incorrupt saints to repose on.
Pluck babies’ eyes out and drain into fonts.
With this we will bless
in the name of the father,
in the name of the son,
in the name of the ghost,
in the name of the mother.
Copyright © Patrick Chapman 2016