Letter Home (Ii) - Poem by Michael Brennan
On a street in Tenerife she finds a photo
A pigtailed girl she places on her index finger’s
Soft pad and balances there each day of her life.
At night she listens to jazz in Stockwell
Where she gets in for free
While outside estate kids hustle for crack
Or she dreams carefully of lavas turned to basalt,
And a boy half-covered by dune sands,
As some morning she could discover certainty
Between the sketches of her notebook:
The woman with the oversized eye, the thin bodies
And small breasts hidden between phone numbers.
She doesn’t walk the quickest way home
After the jazz, through the unkempt cemetery,
Where male lovers meet at night to touch
That place between desire and fear, where
She’s seen a fig’s roots melt over a grave
And clutch a headstone in its liquid grip,
1856 in one hand, today in the other.
She doesn’t know the girl with the pigtails
Is already nineteen and works as a temp in the City,
How she laughs with friends and falls in love easily.
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