I could tell he was in my wardrobe, from the shuffling noises.
Unsure of which end to open first – open it left or open it right?
As if Jonathan Creek would filter the scene and each panel I slid
back would prove him still invisible. And then there was the
glass eye of the mirrored doors, predicting my presence
and promising nothing of his. I chose the left.
‘I’m sailing a big ship, Ma! It’s full of aminals!’
Soft arms gripped the plastic chair helm,
fierce waves of my dresses crashed across the bow.
The animals were not pathetic two-by-two, but soldiers,
(‘might there be Ferrets among the crew?’ I asked
the gesture of reply was non-committal.)
The ship’s belly prodded at carpeted shores and
they took the city for their spoils, gloried in
the treasure of my dusty shoes. Soon the mighty ship
dropped anchor among the storage tubs
because it was time to go to the supermarket.
Each day spits salt into the evening’s furrowed dreams,
smashes a wave across our brains, holds us foetal and
floating in the amniotic sea of our earliest oblivion.
Thinking produces; suffering twists it into strange shapes.
That night I swept out across the bed, sweated visions
of dessicated animal skins fluttering like skirts,
high seas where lightening sent down its white spider legs
and bent coat-hanger wires to pierce my arms. A clothed
and dead Reepicheep tilted his wind-stripped skull
at my suitcases and when I would not understand
he took a mirror and sliced away my fingers.
When my eyes broke open to a song of toast and cuddles,
his wardrobe still gaped open-mouthed.
‘I dreamed about your ship’, I said.
He shook his dandelion head in half-asleep.
‘My ship’s gone to the other place,’ he murmured.
I slid the mirror shut to vanish clothes and shoes
and caught my fingernail between the door and wall.
Today's poem is based on suggestions from seven people:
@kirsty_l: “Thinking produces suffering” (Stendhal, The Red and the Black)
@erinmilne: “open it left or open it right” (Nick Sharratt, What’s in the Witch’s Kitchen)
@pinknantucket: “And then there was the glass eye” (Roald Dahl, The Twits)
@cathcrowley: “lightening sent down its white spider legs” (Karen Russell, Swamplandia)
@timsterne: “floating in the amniotic sea of our earliest oblivion” (Siri Hustvedt, The Summer without Men)
@robcorr: “they took the city for their spoils” (Hammett, Red Harvest)
@dogpossum: “might there be Ferrets among the crew?” (Tamora Pierce, Mastiff)
Luka's make-believe has a funny effect on my mind sometimes. And if you've never dreamed of a skeletal Reepicheep, be thankful.