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Robespierre’s Chamber Pot

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French WorkImogen Cassels
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after Holly Pester

I never meant to see you walking out
at night, boy gap among the rose-rows,
my lulla my lulla my etcetera. I am
a mock of atoms. Watching the bone china
seethe at dusk, praying for the gas gas,
making lace: French work. It is an ugly
life. With rough hands, made for quick
work. Locomotion. Things come to pass
away easier in the dark, sewing the baby
to sleep. What what I wouldn’t give to change
my red-seamed fingers, the ridges where
the needle caught a thousand times.
In all my short life I never saw a tapestry
so wrecked as this one, baby, so dragged
apart. Webbing. What world we will
swaddle you in. No more cloth to import.
I cannot speak of the owl your father –
why talk politics when you could just flood
the engine with love and drive out
to the nearest bridge. On the nights
you don’t sleep, baby, I stay with you,
stitching up my heart, singing bye-bye.
Won’t be long now, honey. Coffining’s a kind
of bare love. I hear the earth sometimes,
teeming with white roots. Now the song
will fade to breathing, then stop altogether,
and like every other soaring film, will pan
skywards, where clouds burst with joy,
and end with rain.

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