Poetry

The Ministry of Going In

This is what happens

I go in

sweep the floor

clear the dishes

interview the Secretary of State over a flat white

and lamington

and ask about Afghanistan and postmodern democracy

in a political vacuum

I forget to ask if she wants sugar with that

 

This is what happens

I go in

sweep the floor

stack plates

dry cutlery

make sure the knives

are really really shiny

and ask the Minister for Dreaming

if I need a new paradigm to contain my thoughts

 

There was a knife once that was not

as shiny as the others

it was held up as an example

of what can happen

if you're careless

an unclean knife

half a second and your whole life changes

 

I go in

sweep the floor

foam the milk

and wonder

if there is too much importance

placed on the size of a takeaway cup

milk jugs are full

of constant fluctuations

and I ask the Minister for Intermittently Good Behaviour

how he is adjusting to the global downturn in fortune cookies

he says there is always another biscuit to be had

 

This is what happens

sometimes I don't go in

I run in the wind

a gory phantom with a large

coconut shell necklace

I say gory on account of the beetroot I have peeled

and I ask the Minister for Outsized Accessories

if I have gone too far

in my quest and she says

she would wear that far mountain and two intertwined planets

if she could get them round her bloody neck

 

This is what happens

I go in

there are people

waiting at the counter

I take one not-so-shiny-as-it-should-have-been knife

and excise my bad intentions

and I ask the Minister for Procrastination

is it always as bad as they say

he says not if you catch it in time and do something about it

 

This is what happened

you went in

made muffins

and cappuccinos

ordered milk and bread

and did something about it

but didn't catch it in time

you asked a doctor what the results were

and he said you'd better come in

 

You went in

swinging your wooden spoon

like a pendulum

backwards and forwards

into the dark

big black crow cleared his throat

and crow ordered fast

before you had time

to catch your breath

crow caught it for you

 

You and crow

riding a spoon

into the cold mysterious night

crow's fierce black wings

beating the sky

and I asked the Minister for Last Things if it was true

that after you die you turn into a star

and he said he was looking into it

 

This is what happens

I go in

water has flooded

from the fridge

I swim round tables

like a dolphin

and I ask the Minister for New Beginnings

what she does when waves threaten to engulf her

and everyday feels strange

she says take a larger boat and throw your guilt over the side

 

This is what happens

I go in

my hair the shape

of a dolphin's fin

someone hums the music from Jaws

and I ask the Minister for Psychic Disinformation

how many times he has blamed poltergeists for his own bad temper

and he says I am in the wrong film

 

This is what happens

I go in

sweep the floor

rearrange shelving

stare at your photo

and stack my own

small bones

in with the coffee cups

I get everything right

it is one of those rare sparkling days

and I ask the Minister for Myself when I was last elected.

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