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Recorded at 'Citizens of the Archive' at the National Poetry Library, July 2017. Written for Nelson Mandela.
Our cells reply as petals do –
beflowering the nervous
byways. Gusts shake
loose: bestrew a mind’s
street corners. If hail should
pass – it will thaw quickly as
we do. This blood tight in its
arteries second by
second taking us
to heart may be loosed
in that simple space between
two beats of thought. Nothing
lost. Spring prepares
that tender and
final passage –
gathers us (soft tendrils
that we are) back to the root.
I breathe in as you exhale. The sun butters
the window pane. Across the field the starlings
settle in a perfect square fallen fallow. Dry earth
needs rain and storm clouds choke behind
the western horizon. Your clock ticks, tracing
a perfect semi-circle with a quiet hand. No one
will see this but me, I feel small under the weight
of it, unequal to the measure of these days.
Keep my appointments, then tell me again how you feel.