“Unpacking”: three poems about domesticity

 

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Unpacking

With your fingers curling lightly
round the tabletop’s edge you heave a breath
knowing that to lose your grip on wobbling, freshly built
guesswork touchstones would hurl you
down; you are meant to be THIS WAY UP – you should
know, you stuck the labels on yourself – but you were
shaken and though the words remain the same
they’re hard to read, upside down and falling

shuffle once more into the moving van, slide in beside
an ageing sofa-bed feeling
kinship, sat on, slept in
tumbling out onto another
pavement, you melt under the same sun
(tumbling out onto another mattress, you-

with your fingers curling
lightly round the tabletop’s edge you heave,
some furniture antique now, some flat-pack –
easy – none of it stays
THIS WAY UP.

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Truer it became, disingenuously
felt until I’d distanced myself
so far back from this body – threadbare patches
thumb-rubbed running over
what once was comfort; sickly pleased that skin
resists the same now it’s like stroking a
cat backwards it’s like
rubbing your hands the wrong way up your
own thighs in a velvet dress on the other side
of the night –
in backwards stumble
playing grandmother’s footsteps
around the world’s circumference so
that I bumped into myself and
woke her so she
span round freshly soled to take me in “Oh,
that’s where you’ve been.”

Pavlovian

Like my body was a bell
I sat with my two skins
bracing myself, facing the mirror,
feeding my hunger with a smile on my face
day after day.

Let’s make dust of this desire
clinging to our lenses and stockings so
when we tug – to have something to do with our hands –
it rises, mingles, carves its way through shafts
of dirt light. Let’s leave the ashes of ourselves on heavy
velvet drapes –

Next time they open wide the curtains we’ll flood the room
with it, falling soft, soft touch, down we go
to the floor again,
shoulders roughed and bodies porous rocks,
bodies pumice-wrought, becoming, and we soak
desire, all our whittled-down glass;
we wake with sand in our mouths.

When I ring,
catching myself unawares or
in the stares of more forgiving eyes
my muscle memory sighs
relieved, efforts repaid.


♦About the Author

Kat Sinclair is a student, musician, and poet flitting between Brighton and Southampton, UK. Her collection Pendant:During is available here.

♦Pocket Full of Poesy

Pocket Full of Poesy is a column in which we publish your poetry! If you’d like to submit your work, please contact us.

 

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