There are ginger snaps, and an end game, and a shroud.
We are meant to choose but hesitate, hang back.
You reappear. A stage bow. Thin applause.
The tide continues ebbing. The mud smells.
A gondolier in a lurid, mud-splashed robe
lies on the pier-end, fishhooks in his ears
and above his eyes. We work hard not to notice
the dreadnaught heeling over in the bay.
It is so like a livid dream. In the beginning, words.
Then come the vivid colours. Then the screams.
Our noses press the arena’s hardwood floor.
Birds fly in where concussions blew off roof tiles,
go blind and fall, air-light but still they fall,
air-light as they stack broken on our backs.
I must be practical you say. We need to sleep.
The sun rescinds sea’s power and we stand.
The dried mud leaves our dressing gowns, and dusts
the disappearing slurried hardwood floor
as we brush feathers from each other’s backs.