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Sport 33: Spring 2005

Poem in Four Parts

page 70

Poem in Four Parts

i. school

She's in a lift, falling through the centre
of her building, slowly.

Her grandmother saying
'No, darling. Dresses are yellow. Coats, blue.'

ii. underzcover

Ask anyone: the fingers bear terrifying marks
you can't remove by touching the tips

to the stove. We knew this as kids,
back when we were masters of disguise.

In winter, wearing gloves, we were burglars,
holding cigarettes to our lips like we had been captured.

Interrogated, we knew how to lie.
'I don't know where I've been. I can't remember

who we were with.' Crying out sometimes
'Whose hand is that?'

page 71

iii. the difference between calm and calmly

It is too cold at home.
My things sit there, dumb.
I stand in the gallery humming
and the walls say a faint boy uncurled strangely, his fists
unclenched belatedly, his tongue untangled respectably

iv. answer me

Her fingers are pointy. They snatch packets of nori,
pickled ginger, prawn crackers. She is adrift

in Chan's, a sharp little ship. 'Grandmother,
shall I make tea?' She turns her whole body

to find me. 'He put it in the bath.
In the bath, a cold wet fish.'