I woke up this morning afraid of the world
then a man threw up at the bus stop.
I stared the other way, he had tears in his eyes
and so did I, but all I could remember
was Bobby Brady saying (at 5.25 last night)
that if it worked for a girl
it might work for a donut
– or was it the other way around?
This worried me: and it worries me too
that I’m the only one in aerobics
with hair under my arms (the only one to sweat)
Even the postman forgets to call me ‘Little Blossom’
He leaves bills and a pair of rowing oars
too big for the hallway
(what’ll I do?)
Like my feet, always a problem
always a search for the perfect fit
But nothing does. Outside:
someone is knocking slowly on a closed door,
Inside: things fall from the wall (posters, cockroaches)
My pockets are stuffed with dead matches
it always takes at least three to light the stove
and the video shop is a nightmare!
I grab chocolate bars and run home
My feet have holes and there are holes
in the curtains as well
Men in suits ride by on bicycles
Their knuckles rap on the glass until
a crack forms along the outside of my skin.
Everything is too big, or too small
(the oars/my shoes) everything matters!
I want to tuck the universe into bed,
reduce it to the size of my fist.
I want to be made under Mr Cuisenaire’s guidance,
full of order and colour
like the lady with the purple broom.
But nothing fits: the day is a pair of gloves, a clock
and the second hand has caught on the minute hand
and repeats and repeats…
Then you walk in.
– the house creaks and tips back into place
– your smile billows and the kitchen becomes a sailing boat
You stamp the kettle on the ring
and the jets flare.
© Beth Spencer
[from The Party of Life, ASM/Flying Islands, 2015,
originally from Things in a Glass Box, FIP, 1984.]