Title: Sport 36

Publication details: Fergus Barrowman, 2008

Part of: Sport

Conditions of use



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Sport 36: Winter 2008

Craig Sherborne

page 226

Craig Sherborne


I'll be dead and then they'll go through my things,
the weak son who never complained when I mocked him,
the daughter who wished me dead I'm sure
so she wouldn't have to nurse me.
I refuse to cut a spare set of keys.
I refuse to risk their snooping.

I hear them mutter about what part of me to pawn,
how their mother's jewelry made for better treasures.
My watch is a gold watch though its fingers stopped counting.
Perhaps my childhood sports trophies can be Silvoed.
Books brown with damp-smell can be piled up for burning.
Only a few should go to the church bin with my bed.

The spell I've had over them is my Last Will and Testament,
a brute strength that never needs to raise its hand:
it's a threat as light as paper. 'We hope you live forever,' they say.
But I'm not blind. I see them sighing.
Years ago I told the same lie as them:
How bereft I'd be, a kind of orphan.
I was, after all, myself once offspring;
I cried the same as they'll pretend to.

Soon enough they'll shop in my rooms, my drawers,
choose furniture, photos, this painting, that vase,
shooing their own kids to play out on the lawn rather than poke around
in what's none of their business nor overhear while the real estate agent
visits for a cup of coffee and a talk

page 227


Some nights you bleak into me.
There's no point you doing it, I'll never visit your grave.
Graves are an insteadness, a letterbox of brass
with your final address: 1997 Died.
I'm fresh in new love now, in that ruthless phase—The Erotic Trance.
You don't count as competition.
Stare all you like from your curtain of sods, only the moon
has stared back for years.

But on those 'some nights' it's you who comes to me—
Obsessest of all the Heart-Broken.
You might as well be alive the way it happens:
I'll be reading and There! you walk between lines,
you mince along words, the streets of sentence.
Lowell's Mermaid sonnets your latest imposition;
at 'It's time to turn your pictures to the wall'
you slip through the O in 'to' like a tunnel.
I let you dance me across the Lowell sand,
the M of our shadows hand in hand, a pornography
of us coiling breath-first onto the page-dream.
I know where that leads—I'll wake to imagine your back
curved in question-mark sobs: 'Leave that unspeakable bitch
you're with. Move home to me or I'll kill myself.'
On good nights it's as the Lowell says: 'Like God,
I almost doubt if you exist.'

page 228

The Usual

Nose down in the froth of his clover beer
the grey horse sups alone.
He ignores a butting calf with its patched coat;
and the flitting tarts the wagtails—

How he must hate their chirpy songs,
they can't really hold a tune,
only some pitiful, high-pitched laughs.
The old lady cow with her udder showing and nipple hair.

Dependables this time each evening that he prefers to turn his back to.
The owl on a fence-post stool.
The annoying flickering light-bulb of lightning.
A magpie pushes another with its chest, there's a second's flap and fighting

but the horse minds his own business,
he's not complicated with paddock politics—
the only poll he knows about is the knob of fuzz-fringe between his ears.
He's like a simpleton, letting his feet be caked with mud

and flies fiddle with his eye corners, hair that never sees a brush.
He pisses wherever he wants and has green teeth
from continually skolling the world. It's his addiction.
He does it for hours, staring into his habit that's eventually quelled,

though for all that, his ribs still stick out.
Then his gravity returns, pulls him down
to its level, and he must take up his spot
once more, head lowered in the half dark by himself