All night the cisterns whisper.
A lantern on its long chain
ticks and mutters in the stairwell,
something in the roof-light
breathes and blanches
where the crow hung.
There are scuff-marks in the floor.
The child I was crosses the landing,
a torch swings round, sudden – zoetrope’s
galloping alphabet of silverish
fingerprints – all night I pick at the roof catch
as if I could spring it open.
(An abandoned bedroom)
Do you know about the roof, that lonely hole,
the split in the ceiling? A paperback swells like bread
from its voluptuous damp. And in the corner
a black nest of spiderlings might be an Edwardian beard,
a Mount of Venus… my stranger’s camera spies
buttons in a scallop shell, TCP, the metal tin of Ocelot talc,
glass nightcaps, bottles, unsent notelets of blue roses
which might be mine as much as yours, or belong finally
I imagine you
walking out forty years ago, stepping the overlap,
banging a suitcase down the stairs against your thighs,
going with nothing else of you, and two small daughters,
than could be carried.
But this is not our story, nothing was touched here.
Instead, something you thought you loved
took its time to mass, immortal, behind another wall.
One for Sorrow
enjoys its skill –
you leave bared sharps
unyolked on the path,
long pendulum of feather
a flash of blue/black
you track me
all along the wall:
enamelled in your eye
I am your likeness,
my family all gone, all,
but you are constant:
I mount you on my thumb,
spit to test the wind:
which way home,
If you wish to read the poems in page view, the following link will take you to a PDF – Pippa Little Poems
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