I peel open the door and everything becomes real.
My heavy footsteps embarrass me,
Though only the grass notices.
I sit upright on a damp log bench
And feel the wind running through me,
Humming and uncoiling and draining away
With the waves of traffic and treelimbs
Filtering together. Every sound gone
Before it reaches me. The blue night
Holding every orange-haloed streetlight.
Feeling slightly seasick I
Drop my head between my knees,
My stomach turning forwards over itself
Bubbling in my throat but still nothing comes.
I sit up refreshed and stand slowly turning,
Pulled in every direction, so aware
Of the bristled conifer playground smells
And the weight of my own skull,
I look at the grass glistening dully
And feel like tasting it, tasting the soil underneath,
Though it’s probably not a good idea.
The holly bush draws me sharply over –
How sharp it feels on my palms I think,
I lean my whole body into it, the tiny spikes
All over my arms and chest, and feel not it
But those little points of myself.
I step away happy and guilty, thinking
Of the people behind curtained windows
All laughing along with the canned laughter,
All weeping along to synthesized violin music.
The shadows grow denser and wider –
They seem to bulge out between branches
And the rocks in the wall, infinite empty volumes
That would swallow you up without a trace.
I close the door behind me quietly.
Inside again the hum of boilers
The ticking of clocks
Lightbulbs burn my eyes,
The overdue sickness welling up
As I climb the stairs to the
Dark landing and step step step
Across the bathroom pulling
On the light automatically, lean over
The sink and feel the oily acid combining inside
And scratching over my teeth then I am
Turning the tap and the water flows through by magic
Washing it all down the drain, and
I swill the lukewarm water in my mouth
And feel it rattling against the cheek walls,
Before letting it fall over my bottom lip and into the sink.
The taste is still in my mouth and I am sick three more times
and I still don’t know if that’s the last of it,
but I’m bored of it anyway, and lie face down on the bed
with my eyes sweating into the pillow and the curtains rattling.