Slipstream

Even something as mundane as this

you turn into beauty

overflowing into pain.

How can I contend with this moment

you fling at me,

like a burning coal,

like a two thousand pound bull

of utterly raging joy,

like a challenge?

I’m no matador,

I’m no handler or hot things.

What I contain,

nothing more, nothing less,

is the balance of my usual

shaggy and tattered days.

Sunrises, mail,

daytime TV, checkout queues,

all these I can handle

with the prowess of a lion tamer.

But you, walking under

this arbor of our old garden path,

while the late afternoon light

rushes into your wake,

like sea spray, like citrus,

you are, this afternoon,

nature herself out for a stroll,

stretching her infinite limbs.

And you know somewhere, far off,

she’s smeared her horrors across the sky.

Ah, what do I know,

a sensible man, a clumsy dancer,

a shoveller of familiar days,

of how you became breath,

afternoon and the never understood?

The trees, the path,

its weeds, its yellow incendiary flowers,

the late noon sunshine, they know,

and flock close around you

like children at play,

pull at your dress, accompany you,

singing,

to the sweet places you go

bestowing life.

What need of me here,

this already conquered one?

But I’ll follow anyway,

hoping to catch a ride

on your slipstream’s burning wave.

 

Copyright Ricky Barrow, 2014

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