Coming back


When they sit you down

in a dark room with no windows

and say words that weigh

more than mountains,

words that blind you

with their Antarctic diagnosis

of your hidden spaces,

words that plunge you

deep, deep under the Southern Ocean

where there are no reflections,

no shadows to sew onto your feet,

then you are not a poet.

You are a Hoff crab

choking on your own volcano,

gagging on the jokes of gravediggers,

the silence that is monochrome madness.


But when you find that the cold

is slipping into the bone,

you remember a small boy

smiling in a garden in summer,

his laughter the lightest sound

you have ever heard,

and suddenly you are swimming back up

with every last shard of your strength

till you find again the hole in the ice

and you burst through into a sky

that is hope, that is love, that is poetry.


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