Archipelago

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p o e m

c h r i s t i a n  m c e w e n 

 

 

A is the tent

I have learned to set up in the wilderness.

B is the memory of your breasts,

your stalwart arms.

C is a broken plate.

D is the grey moon

flattened against the sky.

E is your rake

lying rusty in the garden.

F is a thin girl

trying to peer into the future.

G sends its root down

into frosty ground.

H stands tall:

two posts, & then a simple gate,

which I throw all my weight against,

without success.

J skates across an icy pond

wearing a little cap.

K is a quick kiss

on your sunburnt neck.

L (was that once love?)

has been lost for a long time.

M makes the first

of many jagged mountains.

N is the door you bolted

in my startled face:

No, & no, & again no.

O is the hollow sound

of my astonishment.

P is a bubble of pain

on the surface of the river.

Q is my sad monkey sitting on his tail, then

Resting his skinny weight upon one foot.

S is the white ribbon of the road ahead.

T is a small shelter with a flattened roof

where U & your new lover

duck in & out of the rain.

V is simply vicious.

Do not grant it your attention.

W is the reiterated question, Why?

Windshield-wipers slashing back & forth.

X marks the exception to everything Ive said.

Y shows the place where the road divides:

north & south, highland & lowland.

Z is some crone whos watching all of this,

hope propped up upon a bony elbow,

kindly wrinkled face & cloudy eyes.

 

2003 Christian McEwen

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