L I t T e R

Back to Leafe home

Back to Litter home

Mary Michaels


Some part of me wants to open the train door

I told him about the film where a character
opened the door and threw himself out

that was unnecessary, tactless, vicious
that was the nasty part of me

I didn't know he was depressed

some depressed part of me

I was on my way to the wedding, the hairdressers
all my not-seen relatives, got up in black, shrinking and tiny

he opened the door and

it was some time before I told anyone
the train had gone miles farther on

would he be lying alongside the track?

we set up the search then
lots of false leads, wrong interventions
people in bright colours and struggles

he always used to say he had friends in the camp
and wanted to join them

we knew they were grey-white shadows

yet here in a leather jacket life-sized, kindly
a man who says he's come from there
will take us back

he knows my name

I don't ask him what journey this is

some part of me won't ask
goes willingly.


Sparkle from a sequinned strap
on her shoulder
red shadows under her gestures
a glittering column

green summer trees, their heads of foliage
each leaf turning over on its stalk
the whole mass in continuous transition

distance shimmers itself into thinness
a man bleached colourless
lying on the ground
sits up thoughtfully in ghost-like whiteness

bushes consolidate around a pond
a deep-shadowed dog steps in and wallows

stretching into flatness they go in and out of
stains, patches, mildew blossoms

ears to the door, laughing fit to bust
in gloves and hats
stepping down the outside stairs of a house
in stitches
the woman disappearing into her edges
being pulled back.

Copyright Mary Michaels 2005