The House in the Middle of the Room

It fit everything inside
wet on her tongue like morning - all mist

and burning through. She strides
through her brain, saying, 'Pants, bra - missing

something here.' Flavour of dream
maybe, phone ring and - last moments of slumber

against light, diffuse and calm.
Unlike her, caffeinated, not looking at cars

as she crosses the street. Blind
spots float. Childish fingers move insistently,

spilling what they should hold
inside her. This is - stumbling at the word - memory

still seeping, unplaned. No amber
hardens on her these days, no traps release

their teeth from doll-like limbs.
Was I always this small
? she wonders, foetal

against the cool of the floor,
curled around the china tea set and her guests,

their button eyes not blurred,
like hers, with fog or dew (so early). She lists

what can be found within: blood,
bone, broken things. Anvil where there should be heart.

Blisters where old habits rub
against new skin. Staples, paper cuts, erasures. A front

you swing wide open
to see inside: such tininess, so frangible; such pretty fabric

-ations. Is this seat taken
Reach right in. Your grasp. All for the asking.


                                                                                   after Sofia Coppola's The Virgin Suicides

     In certain species the females remain in the larval state and are called glowworms

as boys, we kept them
in jars,
summers before the trees

began to die. they were
girls, astral
configurations, lightning,

the flickering of lava lamps
against lace
curtains. these our signals.

binoculars, seismometers,
guitars. Striking
a chord we played out endlessly,

imitating Dylan, Hendrix, anyone
not our
fathers, who we have become.

     Light production in these creatures is very complex, and still not completely understood

we will never stop missing
them, always
arrive too late and not save

ourselves. bioluminescence
will break
against us each summer,

ghosts of white dresses
at dusk.
our sisters, wives, daughters, lovers

each carry within them our
broken hearts:
inexplicable, larval, glowing. theirs.

Morning Gift*

And how we come to it: one curled
and catlike, one still snarled in dreams.

That light falls, and that it fades,
one sorrow we have made up of

two shades. Two blues. Your hand is aloft
on the day. I am still as dew, evaporating

into clouds as yet at bay. This may
have been a field once, pasture

cropped by morning mouths. I will pay
my rent in honey, sweetness thieved

and sweeter for it. Like dreams,
like this morning we are given

to do nothing with but honey
each other. Gold against the sky.

*Morning gift is the literal translation of the Saxon word morgengifu
often rendered as 'bride-price.' Evidence demonstrates that this was,
in fact, a gift of money, land or goods made directly by the suitor to
the bride - not to her father or family - on the occasion of marriage.
This practice was widespread enough before the Norman conquest to
leave its mark in place names such as Morgay and Mayfield.

Je Suis Ici (Scenario for a Short Film)

Intro: driving through vineyards: Music: Edith Piaf. Jaunty.
Where are we? Ici. Here. At last. After

character throws open windows
here in my phrase book: house. Hot.

to reveal a brick wall.
Then hungry.

1. a mountain village -
I am learning the words of things: montagne,

the streets are empty, the restaurant is closed.
magasin. Ferme.
Still a shop when it's closed?

The dogs eat bones and bark.
The street is empty of. Pierres. Chiens. Soleil.

The character tries to write a card and fails.
Comprenez-vous francais? I wish I knew the French

She watches the sunset as swallows circle.
for swallow.

2.  a market.
Marche. Also, marcher: to walk. a marche bien.

A plethora of food and music.
It goes well. I walk. My stride rhythmic:

dead fish, chickens being roasted,
Bien. Rien. Can you eat a smell? A taste?

A confusing but beautiful array.
A place?

3. A pristine untouched salad.
Plat: a plate or meal. But more.

A digger in the road looks, blocking the view.
Art, the placement comme ca. Angles. Muscles. Flesh.

The salad remains uneaten, the card remains unwritten.
Fresh. Untouched. If I eat, will this be ici

The digger digs.

4. Van Gogh Cafe, Arles.
Days proceed by frames: windows (car, hotel, cafe).

A comparison with the painting
By guidebook, painting, memory, viewfinder, postcard.

shows what tourism has done.
Frame. Ferme.
Everything here seen a million times.

The character tries again to write a card.
Take it.

5. Looking through cards with a pot of salt to hand.
Sel. Once currency. Pot of gold to stop

Card picture of flamingoes.
meat from turning. Like love: keeps things fresh,

Mosquitoes buzz, she scratches a bite.
red and present. Fire. Running through me -

Cut to: Boat trip in Camargue - a wide river,
freshwater worth its salt. A day's grain (or

a search for flamingoes, river side diggers have monstrous grace.
grace). Its taste. The touch of it to

Instead of flamingoes, a heron.
my tongue.

6. Salt mountains seen from a fortress whose shadow on ramparts looks like teeth.
Bite into blue. Make dents. Impossible. Untouchable.

The character gazed out of the barred window.
All I have wanted: sky, sun. To see

Something suddenly releases her
the frame. And beyond it. To open

and she walks the ramparts in a carefree manner.
the eyes of my brightest wings and turn

my face

7. She licks the stamp and places it on the blank card before posting.
(in)to the sun.

         Sophie Mayer 2007