So Early in the Year

Stephen Knight

Presumably the whole point is that there should be no continuum: of anything. That failures of memory are but a proof of a living organism’s subordination to the laws of nature. No life is meant to be preserved.

Joseph Brodsky, In a Room and a Half

‘I really ought to stop
climbing trees,’ you said,
nipping the filter off
another low-tar cigarette
then settling your arm
lightly on my shoulder,
giving me a squeeze
as if you didn’t know
that you were dead.

– THUMP THUMP
thumpthumpthump ...
The builder opposite
plays Capital all day.
His hammer in the air,
a nail between his teeth,
he dances,
dances like a little boy
till everything’s OK.

The Green, fluorescent
after rain, is buzzing,
with ZIPPOS’ grimy
Day-Glo trailers
scattered like toys.
While men lug rope,
funambulists in tights
pitch in, or practise
death-defying feats.

You looked quite wrong –
your eyes too far apart,
your hair too long
and coppery – and yet
the way in dreams
we know, I knew
(deep down) that it
was you, knee-deep
in reams of leaves.

The golden chain tree’s
flowers blew away
so early in the year,
now wizened seedpods
hang above the path,
but they’re juggling fire
out there, balancing –
on long broom-handles
– children, who throw

their arms out wide.