V  P  R

Contemporary Poetry and Poetics





I hate the way the island goes around,
around, around, always ending up where
it began, at my father's house, my mother
raging in her upstairs room, her laudanum,
whiter than fresh snow in its blue bottle,
the trapdoor to the widow's walk padlocked
shut, the chambered nautilus on her table.
She rummages through trunks looking for
something, kneels down to pray, weeps,
then races downstairs, chattering to herself.
I hate the way the house goes up and down
like Jacob's ladder, rattling doors, the eye
in the bevelled glass in the rainbow mirror,
the pump at the kitchen sink, a single drop
of water suspended from its rusting lip.
Hate the willowware dishes in the china
closet, for company, but company never
comes.  Hate the way my thoughts come,
night after night, red-haired demons
from the afterlife.  Hate waking up,
shirt on the bureau, shoes by the trunk,
wind at the window sill, stale winter air,
the loneliness out there, the despair.
Hate all of it, walking around, around,
this treeless island, cobbled streets,
always ending up, like a seed in a sea
of darkness, exactly where I began,
at my dead father's black front door.

© by John Gilgun


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