Drawing by Judith Wolfe
Adrian Manning

Poems


      Confusion

      Confusion about where I put my keys
      Confusion about the time on my stopped watch
      Confusion about the date
      Confusion about whether she would live or die
      Confusion about whose loose change sits on the table
      Confusion about what time we agreed to meet
      Confusion about whether it is going to rain or not
      Confusion about whether I kissed her as she lay dying
      Confusion about the blue shirt or the white one
      Confusion about whether I switched off the gas
      Confusion about the year of my car registration
      Confusion about which breast was first to go left or right
      Confusion about Stravinsky or Sibelius
      Confusion about whether to answer the phone or not
      Confusion about the time the game starts
      Confusion about when exactly the cancer struck
      Confusion about where I left the car
      Confusion about who wrote that poem
      Confusion about whether we agreed today or tomorrow
      Confusion about the paint colour in the bathroom
      Confusion about whether I said goodbye before she died

      Cats stalk my brain

      memories, like cats, stalk my brain
      prowling tigers caged
      devouring new bird thoughts
      as they are born
      I keep them there
      too frightened to let them out
      they may damage
      harm or destroy
      the things I want to
      keep safe in my world
      they pace around
      they crouch low to the ground
      they are almost onto something
      but I push them back
      my mouth is no escape route
      they will have to wait
      it is raining heavily
      they move under cover
      and wait
      claws retracting impatiently


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