My Real Name is Stanley Kubrick

John Hartley Williams

It was Thursday and the skeletons were out
dancing as was their custom in the beetroot
and the wintry sun shone down on their fragile paleness
and the earth crunched under bony feet.

No film made by actresses with bad breath
could rival their dialogues of ‘Boo!’ and ‘Gotcha!
In this film scripted by a weather forecaster
everyone misremembered their lines.

What ought to be an endearment was a whisper
disguised as a shudder that opened a creaking door
to a basement down whose cracked stone steps
skulls rolled merrily, joking as they fell.

In the house of a demented aunt, a lone skeleton
ran its clacky digit over a wrinkled forehead
and tweaked at wispy hair and lay shadow-
traps everywhere for the elderly and blind.

It was Midnight in the garden of the beetroot
and the skeletons went down one on the other
and tasted each other’s bones like crows on
chicken carcases, or directors filming mud.