Ordinary things

I was out walking yesterday or perhaps it was today

when a man young as a son spoke under his breath: go

back home, he said, you belong. There, not here. Before

not now. This is not the first time, time was confused.

Tomorrow I go for a jog to let my slab of fat dance

and a woman pushing an empty pram stares,

imagining a past and a place of return I cannot.

I leave the suburbs, and the slithering hills

are nice until they realise I am ignorant

of their names; I am walking away

to the place I live in, and the sun is wetting

my hair, wilderbeasting my body, adding weight

to every step. I shop in a convenience store

and the old man there nods to me, eyes filmed

over with where he used to be. His mouth

opens, throat bulging, and he ejects a red brick

small and perfectly formed. He says I will need it

some day. To build a bridge or a home? I ask, but

he doesn’t seem to think there is a difference.

I put the slick brick in my pocket. It is light as

the wind, heavy as a country. I return

to the house I grew up in and the house tells

there is no succour to be found in the past.

Outside, I see two men in love as a feature

of the landscape, their fingers reaching up

to tender sky. They spit into my hands red

sap I will need some day to mortar. I travel

into my flimsy chest, my lizard brain,

find a refrain of no and go and back and

land and man and home and beneath this

an echo of milk and brick, corn and breakfast,

you know, the ordinary things.

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