by Diane Fahey
I wake, re-position my head
carefully back on my shoulders,
revolve the bolt.
Dents in the teapot on my breakfast tray
evoke the dimples, oily
with light, I'll dive into
at the pool — a liquid bowling green
draining through shark gills.
I wear a twenties costume —
black wool, knee to neck —
but anyone can see my skin's
rough patchwork; that my joints
have metal accessories.
I am what I appear to be —
a walking industrial accident.
Though large of stature
I'm less endowed than the life-guard
smirking up from his sleek strut.
Thirsty for reassurance, I lope to
the spa — the circle widens with
distant looks, its temperature rises.
‘O! that this too too solid…’
But no! Resolute fingers clamp
bubbling thighs, I check my toes.
Sans suit, a businessman rises up —
his body hair that of a new-born ape,
cramped jowls close-shaven.
Back in the change room, I fiddle
with scar cremes, anti-rust spray,
busy as a drag queen.
A half-fogged mirror shows
two eyes, almost level, almost
equally blue, in this
botched transparent face
that will never tan.
I'm an artefact, I know,
yet some kind of human —
I can think with halting fluency,
admire sunsets, want love…
At home, the mirror is edged
with cloud stains —
a fin-de-siècle lithograph.
Diving through deep-sea eyes
I ask, How much is retrievable,
how much yet unborn?
then turn away — terminally bemused,
of course, but also, I confess,
quickened, scenting an animal peace.
Last updated August 18, 2022