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Crush


Obsess is an ugly word, she says, in the beige
and paper atrophy of 19th Century Fiction.
Marching drums are just turning off Arundel,
slogans blowing in the late May wind

while she flicks between pages of Bronte
and the stairwell, where any minute he might emerge.
I admire her ability to blush, instinctive
as an animal ready to run at the whiff of fox.

 My skin is inexpressive.
I've heard this makes me hard to read.

*

Not obsessed, then. But to bear one thought
into every room — imagine the thought is a moth
precarious on her thumb-nail, wings folded
like pages, no less absurd than when it first settled
harmless as rain.
 She's fond of the moth,
weighs her movements against the risk of flight,
wrist braced at an angle to lock them eye
to compound eye. Now what if he does emerge
from the stairwell, rushes across the room
to touch her frozen fingers —

will she reciprocate, take his hand
 and send the moth fluttering?

*

Those marching drums, the clarinetists
with their band camps, their arpeggios, always
a bagatelle to perfect, and no time
between metronome beats for this ill-lit desire
 to what — converse, coexist?

Tomorrow, I'll join the orchestra,
learn cor anglais to fill my head with noise.
I want to be someone else's delusion,
turn tail on their meaningful looks,
 walk home alone

 through low cloud and snickets
thick in morning glory to practice my scales.


Angelina Ayers