Wind Chimes in North America
This warm rain draws out the bittersweet smell
of nettles and wild onion clustered on the riverbanks.
The sweating cobbles are slick and smooth
under my sandals; one step in every ten I skid
and a breath freezes in my throat -
but the fall never quite arrives. I keep walking.
For the few weeks that straddled winter and spring
I forgot what it is to think - had to learn again
what it is to be human. I became so aware of the world
that I could hear echoes of places I have never been;
the con brio clinks of wind chimes made from broken bottles,
swinging on a wooden porch somewhere in North America,
and the dum-thwack dum-thwack heartbeat
of a tennis court in the south of England.
Prayers return to my lips like a reluctant lover.
Now I talk to God the way one talks to a coma patient;
the sceptic in you says they are deaf to every word,
but another part, somehow older than yourself,
tells you your prayers come through as colours in their dreams.
Last night I lay awake; the rain crackling
on the gazebo outside my window sounded
like fireworks and the moon rolled back
into the sky like a watery eye in its socket.
I thought of you. The next morning the sun
rubbed against my windowpanes the way a cat
coming in from the cold brushes a trousered leg,
and my dreams had left you-shaped creases in the bed.
There is a chattering and clacking of coat hangers
as I clear my wardrobe and once again pack my life
into boxes. Samantha comes to say goodbye -
we end up curled like cubs on my naked mattress,
nestled under her knitted poncho. I grasp her hand,
and cry - for all the things I'm afraid of
and everything she'll never know.