by Annie Fan

but, shibboleth; what’s salvageable in
halves? again my broken english is wrenched
past monday west-ends, free declamations
riffed at speaker’s corner, pigeons
under trees, the same shadows

turning tricks; this morning as i walked out
of the house, i stopped parsing my way; & i saw
that every window was open to the storm-drawn air,
vaguely soft in vowel but blowing
to stifle things left unmade or asleep:

the bed or the toppled toast rack,
true & honest in themselves, crossing forwards,
overlapping; last night. how we nearly were,
a hyphenation in the December light;-
stark-coloured & more literal

than grief. & soon, the wrens will come back
to dismantle this heavy sky laid
low with winter; to help me walk & speak
like any reasonable woman; to move the night-stuff
of dust rotting these beams, too mild

for frost, shuddering splintered
hours of forgotten scent after every
rushed-latinate wind that rumbles the door
like a warning, before it disappears.