Jennifer Compton

The Shock

The shock will arrive via a phone call from your sister
in a strange house
a house where you have never slept
you've just arrived, with a suitcase
a suitcase full of books.
There is a phone call. At dinner time. The child must be fed.
There is an unexpected visitor who has been served
a glass of wine
the last
of the wine.
The shock arrives shockingly down the wire
you will always remember
that pause, before she spoke
and how the air you breathed
changed shape.
The conversation that was afoot
limps on
as you come back into the room dragging the shock
it's a monstrous frantic putrid snot-green shock
it's howling for blood.
Look. Already it has taken a pit bull munch
out of your softest parts
slipped you a dose of don't-touch-me distance
just one of the gifts
that the shock packs in its kit.
You will stand on the doorstep in the chill night air
lifting a hand in farewell
the visitor is backing his vehicle out of the driveway
and it will be so strange, the strangest thing
you will be able to see everything at once.

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