by Katy Darby
Gardens are terrible things: the gnat-thick
rough air under trees, the crawling lawn, the
ease of decay in their shadow. Gentle
Edwardian murderers buried the
next victim in their terrible gardens.
First there were the fingerbones that the dog
insisted on bringing us as we drank
Nescafe on long balmy evenings.
Good dog, we said, and threw the things away.
Even the scapula was hardly odd,
really, for London. Babies bricked in walls
shock nobody. And then we found the skull.
by Katy Darby
The ghost at the feast he was, always
letting his tattered hair down, standing
in a puddle of blood at his wedding
shamefaced, his morning suit staining.
He appeared more than once as a warning:
one night, blind on tequila, heard crashing
his way out of the chapel. Next morning
who would have thought–well, whatever.
He won’t look outside when it’s raining,
when shadows are hard to imagine
as shadows. He hears himself keening
and rushes to rescue, complaining
the screams keep him up at night, claiming
that drinking will help him stop crying,
looking half-murdered, repeating
“At one fell swoop,” over and over.
© 2001 Katy Darby
Postcard from Porlock
Just a note to
say that the watch
on the wrist of
the woman you
will never meet
in the country
you will never
see says half-past
I didn’t actually witness anything. I was in the room but I was staring at
the wall. The paint was different where there was once obviously a painting. The
voluptuaries were seated at the table, ties resting in their soup. Yes,
voluptuaries. No, just the ties. “Where the fuck is the rump roast?” one of
them asked. They all stared in my direction. I tiptoed backwards to the rear
vestibule. But I watched myself exiting as if I too was seated at the table. To
resist the perverse urge to betray myself, I bit into a piece of bread. I became
self-conscious of my own masticating. It seemed to be taking an unreasonably
long time to chew my bread! They all stared again. I looked towards the
vestibule but I was gone. No use pointing now, I thought. That’s when she came
in with the roast.
I hadn’t seen her since the piano recital on the beach. The acoustics were
exceptionally poor. Someone periodically raked the dog prints from the sand. I
never once saw a dog. “Don’t put it down like that you’ll break the spine,”
she said. I had borrowed her book. Her hands were beginning to prune. No, she
was holding a pruner. Yes, in both hands. One of the Baby Grands had a death
rattle. The minor keys were abalone. There were no major keys. They kept turning
it on its side to shake out the seeds. The thing that most struck me was the
time it must have taken to assemble it in the first place. The sand bed was
being hollowed out by the handful. I had warned them not to do that! Okay, one
dog. When they came out, they said the three smallest bones were vertebrae.
© 2001 Tom Fugalli
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