Pictures

by Timothy Granville

I remember the memories shuttered in between the edges.
On that day in that room.
Buried in plastic snatches of light.
And at first all I could see was the sheen of surface tension.

I knew the tricky little boxes.
I knew the black chrysalides which had hatched
those dusty pinned butterflies.
So at first all I could see were flies on windscreens.
Seconds pressed like flowers.
It was the rough trigonometry: you said yourself
“Everything looks cool in the right kind of light”.
So I noted the laminated smiles and labels to remind you
of the meaning of all this.

Of the meaning of my face, which reminded me of years,
when we will hold our wives in wallet spaces.
The edges stained with the same sick yellow
of smokers fingers.
Trapping those sagging faces under the see-through sheets and under us
until we are limp and bored.
And then the skindeep
colours will be braille to the fingers of old men.
Men with our eyes.
Coughing at the sick smell of the past; thicker
than piss and dead skin.
And they would drop back from those mothy pages.
And they would capsize with the light, failing past
the screaming pink things in the hospital.
The black and white veils hiding their
mothers and wives.
The Polaroids of their fathers stretched out and hued.
And they would reach a place where the seconds are piled in ashtrays
with the uncounted filters.
Where everything is smudged sepia.
A place not far from here.

So having come this far I tried to touch your dumb pictures
but my fingers bruised them and left them smeared and greasy memories of last year.
I sighed and shut it up.
Handed it back.
Stepped outside with a second chance.