Sunday, 29 November 2015

A Poem for Sunday

by Fenella Johnson


I remember how we cried only when we hit the pavement
our cheeks blotchy with shameful blood, the colour of a rusted out car
we rejoiced in the martyrdom of our softness
the faraway magenta hush of traffic and the daring of no helmet, no handlebars-
just the grazing of skin in the mellow copper dust and the thick hum of evening beginning,
the half tempo beat of waiting for the end.

I remember how we skipped and slid through that summer
watching the flies slush themselves against the off-milk white of the garden walls like postcards stuck to a fridge,
the perturbed blue of the sky
our limbs ripening to June brown,
the slow unbothered winding of walking with nowhere to go
the whole word turned momentarily golden.
Sun stoned, sun startled, sun smothered, we dreamt of trickles of harsh crisp water;
every day was like a closing of a door or a paper cut
and everything we ate was squishy or frozen or sweet.

I remember crouching in the overbearing sun soaked night
over the dead cat we had found
its limbs twisted in a petulant vicious question mark
how we knew even though the sour juice of overripe spoiled peaches ran down our chins
that the taste was gritty with ash
how we knew we would never revel in our softness again:
the hot leather gasp of a car door opening somewhere
was a signal to abandon the bikes,

to run home.

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