The Dog Board

In a dream you left for me,
Showed where souls will go,
A mantel-mounted wooden stand
Held miniature drawers in rows.

Should I show you how your brother rests?
You said with some resolve,
And pulled out one such tiny chest
Wherein all hope dissolved.

No treasured urn, no cenotaph,
No scripture on a stone,
Just a hundred unsung blocks
In that yew-tree spirit’s home.

She said ‘It’s called The Dog Board’,
It homes your snow-dogs too,
There beneath the foxgloves,
The white drops and the blue.

There’s no entreaty I could make
To save a space atop,
That place both terrifies and captivates
Above the cauldron pot.

Ode To Our Bed

You have your side’s tidyness,
My side’s still its usual mess.
If we swapped, I’d take time

To trace those crests and hollows
Where your resting shape resides,
Refill your empty cup of sorrows,

Folded clothes conformed
To your uncontested beauty,
Ready to be stored in drawers

Like confessions in a chapel,
Like reforming resurrections,
Routines diminish duty.

Middle night and middle storm,
I reached for where your milk was stored,
But darkly your side metamorphed

Before I realised, and with great design
The bed of life revolved once more,
Mechanics wheezed while agents yawned.

Now I’m trapped where blankets lied,
Transfixed by how I lived and died;
You wake, shower, prepare for work.

Slate Heart

My heart transposed
From pastry to slate
Just as you found me,
A heart-shaped slate
Tethered with hessian
Handles to keep above
Your dressing table,
For lists, and luck.

So write within
The confines and shape
Renewed by your grace,
This accommodating
Plate of compressed
Metamorphic sediments
Will savour the flavours
Of chalk-engraved nouns
Down his grey-green lateral
Surface. You flattered
Me latterly, and I can take
Psychoacoustic traits
While I wait with
Vanities and patience
To see words scraped
On my chest by your
Whitening, trespassing
Nails, words of togetherness,
Hope, and mutual love.

Then, when you are finished
With your infinite
Blue hues of language
Darting like sticklebacks
By the reeds, irrepressible
River-spirits take heart,
You can wipe away the words,
And together again we start.