ANOINTING

1
couldn't find the story    instead came to this
lonely flicker     no one can tell what worth
                 
a hole cut in ice    a mouth of unknown ways
between them    ragged outlines    visible

across the river     rain floating down 
in broken design    an entrance

as if this were home     remnant of snow
dull on ledge    might still feel flesh

could melt their mouths    in the same way
to be reborn     between one moment and the next

cover her whole    rain deepening the stone
clean     come to an end         rub your eyes   

drop by drop    still dream of falling
never imagine it will be so kind


2

last carriage of the train    resolved not to return
cautiously through the window    as though

you look down through water            'leaving everyone
to begin a new life'    draw with a finger

on sheets    a cottage slowly
to join her    in a later dream

of a room never seen    little death     white
wing brushing    lake    something sweet

turning over    unbuttoned    smell
of wet hair    burning    inside

a large key   tenderly bright
'you make things hard           how do I get

 into you'     back     from side paths
and turnings     no longer recognised


3

in the womb    homeless
the little room where she slept

while she still did her duty    the rain
before it fell     not authorized by absolutes

looking back   lakes and bubbles
story of the glittering plain

scarrings part of the landscape
where paths divided    in and out

discarded    silent child   
between the image and the mirror

the body plastic    hand printed
bits of self     the rain doesn't stop

or remember you      the shape
of the mouth   its own truth  





PURLOINED

dark windows to a country

never seen     old wounds

still wet     flower-headed

between frames     what other face

so stark and turning   the slope

veined where it breaks those

who sing    the form upon us

shared with stones    drop

by drop    enter the gap

far within the other   father

whose words lie

to hand    shadow

through falling blades

pass without dying





THE SHAPE BEHIND YOU

Anyone can be looking at you or into
the faces of those who have gathered up
their dreams and set off to live
two lives at once. In the song before
it's sung, threads are set off and dropped.
Misreadings nourish the construction of strangers
who tinker distractedly with your cigarettes
and put you through your paces.  If you knock there
along the bone, where codes of behaviour
are untranslated, smoke will tell its own story
as it passes through dreams.

The girls remain isolated through their outlines,
sleepily prayerful as they lean on a cold wall
in a parable of tall slender trees. Intent
on dreaming, they will later become tiny
discarded objects, reassembled with plastic
violence. It is the same blood as our own.
Scraps of skin curl inward, turn brown
in the flames. Ragged clouds leave behind
an invisible air of unfulfilled snow over
our abandoned footprints. In the end
it's only rain which puts out your cigarette.

The path loses itself in trees.  Patches
of light are broken by shadows. Known
for their silences, these ghosts you dream of
are not able to enter the landscape, though each
brings a fresh eye. Running a regretful
finger over stubble, kissing the gashes
now cold, you have the impression
that he still looks at you the way he first did
when you sat by a train window pretending
not to notice, crossing a border, entering
a strange city for the first time.

        Ian Seed 2007