Mark Ford

then thrown back, like a long-finned, too bony
fish, I finally took
him at his word, and felt the lateness
of the hour acquire a dense, rippling
aura that weighed down these eyelids, pressed

apart membrane and nerve: howsoever I twist
and retreat, I thought, or silently glide from
sphere to sphere, the merest
splinter of rage keeps returning as a glittering, razor
edged weapon, and even after dawn

has tightened still further the angle between
reflex and use, a sort of sunken
tide pushes open my ducts, washes through
or else over uncertain
crumbling defences, dissolves into itself whatever

floats, like quicklime, filters the air through fluids thicker, heavier
than water ... as in a riddle, my entire
active vocabulary scatters and drifts, sucked
under, worn smooth to the touch; instead, circling
cries and swirling, opaque

graffiti scrawled in black
clouds of enormous letters come to seem
to define only their own unforgiving
and yet volatile laws: ‘Thou
yet behold’st me?’ I’m half-inclined to bellow in jest

at the elements, but decide, inversely, my first
real manoeuvre must
be to conceal from the inquisitive, lopsided sun
the direction in which these currents are secretly
driving me, and the immaculate, tiny

moons that now cover my body.