Title: Sport 36

Publication details: Fergus Barrowman, 2008

Part of: Sport

Conditions of use



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Sport 36: Winter 2008

Brent Kininmont

page 193

Brent Kininmont

Sweet Talk

When the bumps get bigger
and the plane strikes more doubts,
the attendants don't smile and say

the Arctic below us
is the safest of oceans to land on;

that runways are stamped all over the ice
and torches outline them
when it gets dark;

that if forced onto a floe
the crew knows to use the wind and the rudder
to steer the floe home;

that in the worst outcome,
against all that white,
the wreckage will be easy to spot.

Trust is the best flotation device,
the attendants signal
six hours since Gatwick

when they pass round the basket
brimming with glacier mints.

page 194

To the Tadpoles

Paddies are crowded
with fastened lips, soon
you will hatch the plots.

Keep your own counsel
from the terraces;
talk up a downpour.

Repeat after me
We are the chorus!
We are the applause!

Hold on, what was that?
(To pause is knowing
when to make a splash.)

The mass is more than
a clearing of throats
surrounded by pines.

When distance is gapped
seek your selves in panes.
Give nothing away.

page 195

The Swimmer

Nitzi Phillips, d. 1989, Kibbutz Ga'lon

Another long day extending his arms
in orchards.

At the end of laps
he lies beneath

an old parachute
boiled up like a cloud,
his ceiling.

He pulls the cord,
shuts his eyes

a silk dome blossoms.

The lengths
a good swimmer goes to

to keep afloat.
He turns his head on the pillow

to breathe.

page 196

What Boys Who Sleep Near Airports Know

Some propellers stutter
  until they get the words right

Some don't stop roaring
  until their motions are carried

Some drone on and on
  about the nor' westers

Some whine like bandsaws
  when they talk of revolutions

Some fling until sunrise
  blade after blade after blade

Some whisk the dark into
  spoonfuls the child can swallow

page 197

The Spot

It's not a tiny tick
on your lung, saying

maybe this one.

It has legs and means
to crawl over you.

They can't isolate it
like I can:

you, in the doorway
blocking my escape
from what you're saying;

a hole filled
with the length of you

confessing what you didn't know
had been going on
under your nose.

for not looking.

page 198

Self Timer

My mother drinks the medicine
but the warmth and her book
don't sink in.

The blanket's in the car.
When my father reaches
the top of the steps

she counts back to the shore
where another couple
are adjusting.

Time is running out
and they're trying to fit
the lake in.