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Verge 2012: Inverse

RONDO

Sarah Stanton

 

morning to night the mountains stumble

and their sheets are painted in ochre;

night to morning the thunder rumbles

and the green world slopes cleanly over.

Sunup, the little boy with a bell

and the sinking, shrinking showers;

I held it in my hands like a wind-up toy

and sent it purring over the world. Twinkle

wink, twinkle winking it went, a tinman decoy

in clicks and cogs while behind it the sky turned

pale; twinkle winking it went when I stripped down,

took my heart in my hands and fell onto it, all sawdust

and velvet but smiling, a short sunflower nested in a shell.

morning to night the mountains stumble

and their sheets are painted in ochre;

night to morning the thunder rumbles

and the green world slopes cleanly over.

It’s the blue in the breach, the greasy feel

of June, the tune you let loose

with your feet and your gut when at last

you see the sun. It’s the hot grass

after a storm, the worm under the earth,

the dog on its back with its paws

to the air like a rackety arfing hallelujah;

or perhaps it’s you, fooling around

in the paddling pool as if the sky went on

forever and ever. Perhaps it’s you

toddling up the lawn to show me a stone,

humming ‘Hickory Dock’ like a sutra

while we play at a slow game called noon.

morning to night the mountains stumble

and their sheets are painted in ochre;

night to morning the thunder rumbles

and the green world slopes cleanly over.

I’ve got mould on my soul, that awful grey-green grubbiness

that comes of living too long; but I’ve been scrubbing it

red-raw, going out when the street lights are dimmed

and rasping my fingers on the moon. Sometimes,

when the stars are out and I can see my skin

pink for the first time, I feel like a balloon

going up to heaven: a single breath

of helium blinking out of sight

while the night rolls on.

morning to night the mountains stumble

and their sheets are painted in ochre;

night to morning the thunder rumbles

and the green world slopes cleanly over.

Verge 2012: Inverse

   by Samantha Clifford and Rosalind Mcfarlane