Mustard Dreams

Before the incursions
And the banning of street lamps,
We played a game, family time;
It was called Cluedo;
You may or may not remember it.
It startled me at first,
That men would mass-produce
A board game focused on murder.
These days I think to myself
If I was an androgynous
Plastic mustard-coloured
Representation of humanity
I would have been bludgeoned
In the study,
Killed by email avalanches,
Smothered by their signatures
And reminders to save the environment.
Sometimes I had remarkable dreams,
Dreams of escaping, a hero breaking out,
But there are all these checkpoints,
All these traps, language,
Age, work, the internet, mustard seeds,
And relatives urging me to repeat
Mistakes they made and could not atone,
No matter how much they spent or repented.
We are still in bondage to a myth
That shapes what we say and who we are with,
How much we are willing to accept.
And then I would hope
That when they decide to begin the ceasefire,
Agreeing their terms,
Hosting their summits,
(Reparation’s good for accountants),
Burying the unnecessarily dead bodies,
That it would be different next time,
Our love cracked open but not like albumen from an egg,
Not like oil in the Caribbean,
Something else, worthwhile, wonderful and compassionate.
Instead I dreamed last night of a fieldmouse cornered beneath a shed by a predatory kite,
And then a separate scene of a footballer Making celebratory gestures, goal-scorer,
Mimicking rhythms of face-mask removals en masse,
The same stadia were used for public executions back in the day,
While I was returned to my chains,
Against a radiator seated,
Watching indifferent dreams piped on a tv screen,
The sky outside a mustard yellow,
And I knew then that nothing, not even love, would change.

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