Homescar

The fan stutters in a corner.
Gargling sighs.
The room’s dark.
On the windowsill a brand-new lightbulb,
wrong size.
Your small fist of a heart.
What if love
-like anything organic-
expires?

Recall early words, sounds
dredged up from a swamp of years.
The bottled firefly of childhood
beating wings against glass.
Biting into a red apple,
its worm splitting in two in your mouth.
You used to sing hymns
and the sight of railways thrilled you.

The space between then and now is irreconcilable.
You would have never pictured this
among the drawings on your mother’s fridge,
among the football-and-grit-your-teeth
dreams of your father.
None of what came later was hinted at.
What would eventually be possible was kept hidden,
squirrelled away in the dark.

So the lamp is empty.
You still have the dead bulb;
it rattles when you hold it to your ear
like a dried-up sea.

***

What if the whole earth is a puzzle-box
you lift with trembling hands
to your face?

A music-box
whose wooden lips part
to reveal a revolving tongue,
someone’s infancy chewed slowly
between teeth and song?

A coffin-box
whose weight must be shouldered?

father’s watch
bungee cord
the seagull is dead