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Social Boats, Sinking
By Maeve McKenna
I am screened, polished, mimicked by dumb
mouths in artificial mirrors, talking back.
The scent of my body, its pungent genetics,
lingers on thin bandages of light peeling free
from nights exhibits. A tiny colony of skin-
flakes, mesmerised by their own invisibility,
flutter with impatience, like a swarm of wasps
flaunting death from the tip of a sting.
The sly tool of daylight staples a noose
across my shoulder blade. I am not numb,
but weary of these patterns of incision—
trapped bruises — black cloaks of care, hooded.
I make a hate poultice, wrap loose and unconscious
layers in a skin-dress made of twine, imitate
petting on strands of hair falling out of favour,
taunting fingers tapping like meaningless
love-beads flung from a string. Suddenly,
I am a leaking boat full with passengers, sunken
by the pelt of touch, creamy water foaming,
minutes cracked in half like an egg hardened by the edge
of a pot, festering after in narrow throat-canals.
Diving in, I imagine the drowning, how they let go.
By Maeve McKenna
Here, small steps mean I am moving.
I will track my journey later. For now, I
seem to make progress without me.
I wonder about travel. I remember times
when it attached a person to the joy of living.
Other times it was a reconstruction:
neon city, long-neck bottle of beer, the knife
on CCTV, a body
all sinew on concrete. That was on TV.
A woman’s knickers in the back of a taxi —
not blood-stained or torn, just escaping
with her bruised knuckles — wasn’t.
I ask around now why we don’t leave the house.
The sound is on full volume. People
always have answers.
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