A Compartmented Portmanteau With Mirrors - Poem by Alexander Hawkins
"Everything is so clear up here" you choke,
perched atop this vestigial vantage from where
you can make out the whole archipelago
cosily cocooned in a papillote, pockmarked
by a mountain laying low under sealevel,
whose existence is made both aware
and necessary by countless nesting rooks
that circle ceaselessly, shedding their
blueblack feathers onto the saucy
ocean as if someone had cracked pepper
over floaty flotsam. Suddenly
panicked, pained realisation registers:
the tide is unseasoned and the usual
raspy racket of cawing has fallen
silent. What appeared far yet familiar
now seems distorted, as if some
catoptric play of light has shifted
the entirety of what you can see.
With belligerent ease the vantage
point decomposes, yet jettisoned
up rather than down you scream
with such vigour that the very
sediment of the world around you
decays before your widening eyes.
Finally the compartments are
switched and the mirrors within
the catoptric chamber are reversed
fully; sense is restored to you
with raspy relief, relief that quickly
gives way to the catharsis of comprehension.
You feel words tentatively slip
from your slither of a mouth -
"everything is so clear up here", to which
your companion nods, half listening
half gazing into distance at the incredible
but perplexing vista that is identical
to the one you just left behind
in every way except the exact mirror image.
Certainty is creeping across you now,
certainty that if you were to write an account
of this phenomena it would be with your left
hand rather than the previously stronger
right - and, ha, that no one would believe you.
Rather than a suspension of disbelief
or souldestroying scepticism over actuality,
you are now overcome with a desire
to fold reality into origami.
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