Frankie McMillan

Piece by Piece

Talk about promise, this Clifton courtyard
has composition, the thin ribs of the sun

umbrella, the canvas arc of shade
even the café lends itself to script

the man with the grey ponytail
eking out the last coins for coffee, a black

haired waitress with white face and the whiff
of circus, maybe a palomino pony in a sawdust ring

which makes me ask
how do the dead balance their limbs?

Up in the hills we see the possibilities
of height and light on rock, here is a pile

of sheep shit that marks the track, here
is a postcard view of the city, a rabbit

stuffed in a frame, the small cries of insects
is this how the dead laugh?

Here’s the idea, the cinematic version
the clatter of boards, the cutting of scene

the screen with black numbers counting down
a lion roaring and somewhere the Queen in polite

gloves and you in the Square holding her hand
with nothing to say

how do you talk to the dead?

Author’s Note


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