Take a sentence
any sentence, say,
something from The Daily Mail,
the opening of War and Peace,
or a hurried line or two your
travel-bug bitten daughter dropped you
on the way from Banff to Anchorage.
Take this sentence to hold at arm’s length,
inspect for fall and width,
the quality of light its weave admits
from the world it comes from. If it laughs
does it laugh at itself or the reader?
Does it think aloud or keep its own counsel?
Does it have its own voice or just
the rasp of the commonplace
rucked in a narrow bed? Slip into its sleeves,
wrap it round you, feel how it rests
on your shoulders – the light touch
of friend or heavy arm of family?
Does it rub against you like a wet dog or tug
at your edges like a kitchen-reared gosling?
When you meet friends, watch faces closely.
Take a walk by the sea: does the wind
shearing inland find its way through to you?
Lie down on the turf and dream in it.
Once home slip it off carefully.
Look for where it might have taken to you,
its elbow stretched, a cuff scuffed, a collar folded
awkwardly, some bunching where you tucked it in.
Then look in the mirror at how the quality
of silence you return to might have changed.