Open 11am to 8pm
Royal Festival Hall (Level 5), Southbank Centre, LondonOpen Tuesday - Sunday from 11am to 8pm
In the tall, cold Georgian
we knelt in the cupboard containing the boiler.
He said: “This dial shows the pressure;
this switch releases the water.”
There was no clue
as to the contents of his toolbox
and as I had never seen its owner before this visit,
there was a risk in our sharing a crawl space,
and I confess I was frightened in my own home
as I’ve been even when there is no one in my cupboards.
I have asked relative strangers
to wait at the door while I search for intruders.
The intimacy of their protection comforts me briefly
until I have to send them away.
When the lesson in the cupboard was finished,
he was on to the next man or woman, in the next cupboard,
in the next house, which is no doubt tidier
than mine, but cold, too, as these houses here are.
I have a woman’s face
but I’m a little stag,
because I had the balls
to come this far into the forest,
to where the trees are broken.
The nine points of my antlers
with the nine arrows in my hide.
I can hear the bone-saw
in the ocean on the horizon.
I emerged from the waters
of the Hospital for Special Surgery.
It had deep blue under-rooms.
And once, when I opened my eyes
too quickly after the graft,
I could see right through
all the glass ceilings,
up to where lightning forked
across the New York sky
like the antlers of sky-deer,
rain arrowing the herd.
Small and dainty as I am
I escaped into this canvas,
where I look back at you
in your steel corset, painting
the last splash on my hoof.