Crookback, I sit
at the great bay window
swinging a pig’s bladder
from a stick – a severed head
condemned to lightness.
I’m muddled, addled, a mad egg.
Pick, peck, pick – purple-black,
I count mussel-coloured elytra,
beetle my brain into shards,
listen to nocturnal insect taps,
tick, tick, tap.
Laughter turns to cackle.
Whistle and jibe, whistle and jibe . . .
didn’t want for a kickie-wickie,
bumpy-bed. Halls filter their ghosts,
sudden draughts swirl in corners.
The deaths heap up, fold us in silence.
A caul of time stretches over their lives.
Drove and drive, duck and dive –
light blades her soft pelisse
still hung from its rack, a dusty grey
as though a heron watched me there.
They’ve burned her gingie wigs
I used to mock – she’d beard me for it
and I’d offer to snatch her gingie
in return, for which my ears were boxed.
She would sometimes receive me
in her shift.