a strange meeting

silence

no sound only the graveyard ferns

broken nearly the size of your hand reaching out closer than ever before to the fan descending from the clouds on a thread of fire the cockleshells and bleeding hazelwood nice of you to come now walk this way and the little flowers that blossom from your skin will carry you far away

and as you float in the icy atmosphere of gaseous stones that hide from the far-off sun and slip from your sight with the bonelessness of a cat and as you lie staked out to the cardinal points of the waning moon and as you swing by your hair from the sparks of ice you hear my voice and you ask me what I mean

now what was I trying to say?

ah yes

beneath the waves

beneath eaves that sweep down to the snow

beneath the biscuit tin

you and I are waiting for the bus that never comes we light another cigarette and from its smoke an engine appears with flanks of brass and amber reservoirs with carriages of breadcrumbs and late-night sausage rolls we climb aboard and lean against the walls each as rigid as a pole and climb the ladders that emerge from our heads and as we climb

hummingbirds swarm around us placing pearls in our mouths

and the higher we climb the closer we are to the sky which pelts us with eggs with cups and knucklebones you lose your grip and instead of falling you fly through gulfs of violet-tinted air swooping low to stroke the counterpane then soaring high to touch the barometric stars your flesh is of gold your bones of silver threads your hair is of amethyst here take my boots for there are miles between us and home

the dust on the road will accost us as we pass and dazzle our minds with promises of brine and in the brine astounding polyps appear each with its sickle its spade and its watering can and in the light of their headlamps we curl up and die only to be born again and again and again across a chasm of years and our limbs grow longer with each successive birth until our arms take root in the furthest galaxies and the span of our fingers encloses the web of stars that explodes into shards of multicoloured light

and from this light emerges a shining tree whose roots are in the darkest soil of the past whose trunk barrels through the days of the here and now whose branches reach to the utmost ends of time and there at the end of all things we meet ourselves again unsure of ourselves yet sure that we are one and birds fly down to roost in the branches of night the branches of the tree that has its roots in our words its roots in the darkest soil from which a million worlds have grown each a copy of this for what is time

if not a template of the multiplying worlds the ones in which I was you the ones in which the cheque is in the post the ones in which a peacock’s burst of electric windowpanes

open

on the shadows of the lane

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