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India-Rose Channon


Cynthia

She said she had to go and so she left, and what am I to do

when my wife loves the moon? When she walks in the garden

footprints in the grass spring up in her wake,

when she cries it only wets the plants that keep her

earthbound.

She stood beside the bed, the window open wide

and pressed her face to the wind like glass to a cutting wheel.

Love, tell me how to stop a woman with her arms already out

the door,

what string can I buy to keep her still and tethered to my

fingers?

I know I shouldn’t ask the moon to keep us safe.

I watched her close the door behind her and I asked

that the way ahead be easy as the rose grows in our beds,

and the way to me be marked out by a thread spun out of stars.


Examination

The sheet is white as summer laundry and crinkles

when I climb up on the bed, bow-legged and naked

from the waist down. I want to smooth it out like a

tablecloth

at Christmas, press the ripples into submission with the

palms

of my hands, tame them. I am not a good hostess.

My elbows are sharp at my sides, I don’t know how to

soften,

maybe I never have, my knees, my eyes, my voice, my belly.

She splays my legs, I press them close and she splays them

again,

and when she touches me, I feel it across the webbing

of my body, a thousand thousand gloved fingers

pushing into me from all angles. Nothing

grows in my belly, though I am made for it.

You could plant potatoes in my fingernails

and they would grow, tendrils tethered on my arms.

You could feed me apples and watch the tree

burst from my stomach, bloodied branches gathered

over me. Any chance you’re pregnant? she says.

I tell her no and beg my body to believe me.


Firebird

Light spools like thread/she said heaven is empty and all

the light is here/I said heaven never existed in the first

place/she held my hand all the same/my hands are seethrough in the day/pink on white/rivers of gold run over

my bones/smoothing/wearing my knuckles to dice/roll my

bones across her table top/the wood is the colour of the noise

bees make and it has splinters/she has splinters/she is good

at sharing her splinters/the light fractures and we pick it up

between our fingers/spillikins/do not touch one another/do

not let the light leach from my skin to hers/she smells like

sulphur/she has a boyfriend/smells of suncream when my

curtains are open/I can see the smears on the glass/I can see

her on the street/open wide/ I would let her swallow me if

she wanted to/the sky cries copper and she eats it up


Water House

It is deep enough that when we drop the stone

it takes thirty-two seconds to hit the bottom

and echo its findings back up to us. The old station

is flooded, the pumps rusted into place,

the hole where the witch lives smells like mulch.

The witch can’t speak. You put on a voice for her,

run bark over your throat so your voice comes out old

as the forest, you place a curse on us like the curse

on this place, wish us drowned and floating,

and when you laugh the hole laughs too.

Later, when you’re called home for potatoes

and warmth and bathtime, I take off my shoes,

feel the damp ooze into my skin. Climb

back into the darkness, splash-land in the deep,

curl up in my corner and wait for your return.


The Sun Rises

A Sixteenth Time

Light again on the hard, round brink of Earth,

brims a white blue line, a star in an upset teacup,

the sun rises for the last time today.

We float in our station, in our white suits,

watch the planet far below, or above, as light spills

over our mountains and oceans.

Cuts lines through black with wicked sharp

fabric scissors, lets the gold run through.

Space is mended sheets in our hands,

pulled taut on a washing line, we can only watch

as the gaps are pulled apart, and the white heart

rises above the earth, white as old stories

passed down from lips to ear,

white as small lies like hanging teeth,

white as a belly before fingers lay lines

of red down. There is no air here to blur

the edges, there are no words and whispers to change

the story, there is only one more dawn.



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