You wake me with a squeezing
Of strawberry cut – one drop
On my left lid, one drop on my right –
And the tenderest kiss to my nose.
I open my strawberried eyes,
Expecting to find him in the room,
Lotus on the duvet, uncrossing;
Dissolving before I can make out his edges –
But he has not come. I have to
Do this on my own. I know he
Turns up when I am not looking
Out for him. There’s evidence.
My beard hair on his razor
In your bathroom cabinet.
His love bruise on your neck
That day in Grace Cathedral Park.
In his mouth, my brutal tongue,
Smarting after you have kissed and bitten it.
The Voyager Mote
There are no traces, at the edge of deep,
Of chocolate or lilacs, of deathcaps
Or bicycles, of god or schizophrenia,
Of socialist theatre or the kakapo. Nor
Is there evidence at all for the time
Your grandmother settled you, a bairn
On her bony old knee, and told you how
Her father lined his family up, out by the gable,
And cracked a horsewhip, lashed them open –
Daughters, wife and sons – because the Tans
Had smoked his brothers from their cave
And shot them in their heads, and they but lads.
There is no indication whatsoever here
That Brundle discovered insect politics;
That Hedy Lamarr invented Wi-Fi;
That someone inconnu first typed Fin.
There are no inklings from six billion k
Of the day you were sent with a girl,
To deliver a bucket of milk to a man
In a cottage a mile away, and you barely five.
It took the pair of you to carry the pail.
On the way you saw beyond your world:
The garments of travelling people,
Draped on a dry-stone wall to bake.
Here there is no argument for Mormons,
Or Marilyn Monroe, or Mitochondrial Eve,
Or Mao, or Mary or Moses or midichlorians.
No sign of Martin Luther King or Eminem.
Neither is there any hint out here
Of the student actor who, after you sat down
From speaking in public that very first time,
Reached from behind you with two
Lucky Strikes, both alight; and landed them
Between your lips. It was the beginning
Of your beautiful friendship
With toasted tobacco, and loss.
No evidence of all we are or anything we’ve done –
Not until you know what it was for,
This flower that sent the misprint planet home,
The period in every question mark.
Copyright © 2012 Patrick Chapman