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Lydia Unsworth

Trade Winds

When the planes fly directly over our flat it means the wind has changed direction.

The golden hour hisses like hot oil off the windows of the cars in line in turn.

I step into a hole outside our communal front door; first one slab gives way, then another, then more of them. One phone call and you can patch a thing like that up, send a person round to lie down in the entrance of your corridor and hum a series of pop songs off-key while they lackadaisically plaster over the oversight. I step over the body on the way to my dream job. When I come home the corridor is vacant, sand compacted into the gap where the fallen slabs were.

Green highways apologise to the animals for our steady devouring: these monuments to their stripped land themselves take the form of a strip, a stripe, a strap, a step.

We are careful not to look at the planes for too long in case the wind changes course again and us stuck like that with our necks craned to the sky.

I am allergic to spring.

In the zoo, people tut at the non-compliance of the elephants and take notes concerning which animals to get a proper look at later on TV. They want to see the mountain goat on an actual mountain, being chased or something.

They say this water from our taps is the best and most drinkable tap water in the world.



I don’t wash our child / house because it just gets dirty again. I can’t keep up with all the ways there are to make a grim thing clean. There is a robot in the living room, swilling its little feet in and out from underneath our pieces of furniture. You chase the robot around, making the path clear, setting the powdery objects back in place.

I close the safety gate as the automaton comes at me, flat-footed and incessant. Over the mountain ranges. Into all corners. The waiting game. And us,
the dust.

Watch this: ‘Female name, make the big light green!’



I want to make something more gentle than someone like me is capable of making. If I curl up on the tapijt and press my bones against skin, can I make a shell emerge? Can I think marble configurations into keratin and harden? It appears. The thing. Pushed from my ribs. A pea pressed through a slippery morsel of conduit. An egg dropped onto a cloud from a kittiwake in headwind. A shower of benedict. Oily palms. The egg is caught and caught and caught and. A delight. We whip the cream and then we eat it. We step back in sync―a dance, a masquerade―and that tiny silent offering passes hands, soars, is surreptitiously scrambled.



Copyright © Lydia Unsworth, 2019