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Tome On The Range

Two Poems By: Rebecca Perry
Karl Smith , October 20th, 2013 10:16

This week's dose of new writing medicine comes to us from London-based Rebecca Perry by way of two poems

Rebecca is a graduate of Manchester’s Centre for New Writing and currently lives in London. Her poetry has appeared most recently in Poetry London and The Rialto, and she has work forthcoming in The Salt Anthology of New Writing and Best British Poetry 2013.

Her pamphlet, little armoured (Seren), won the Poetry Wales Purple Moose Prize and was a Poetry Book Society Choice

Kintsugi 金継ぎ

You said I treated you like a dog,
stroking through your hair
and down over your ears,
and that’s what can turn kindness bad.
I would apologise,
but love is the soft parts of us.


There is a Japanese word to describe
the sense a person has upon meeting
another person that future love
between them is inevitable.
This is not the same as love at first sight.
For example,
your smell was never unfamiliar.


You asked ‘How can a human being
be so much like a leaf?’
I became infuriated by your questions,
but it’s true my veins are alarming
in the shower, blue and desperate
to find each other.
There is a German word
to describe the blue of veins,
which is also grey metal and green
and the colour of haunted houses.


There is a Japanese word meaning
to repair broken pottery with gold.


Two days alone and I’m talking
to the chilli plant – watching the red
seep through the last green one
like a limb coming to life.
I never noticed how long the light bulbs
take to be bright. I also realise I don’t know
the way anywhere. The streets
always just appeared before.


The sky is darkening.
How to explain the sadness
I feel in winter, which is a sadness
inextricable from winter. A sadness specific to the cold,
which sickens my skin.
when the bed is an iceberg at sea.


Of course your preferences present
themselves quietly in the layouts
of rooms. The few things you left
are shadowy objects at the
edges of a Renaissance painting,
waiting to catch the light
when I’m weak.


There is a Cheyenne word for the act
of preparing your mouth to speak.
The months spent readying mine
tasted like metal,
food was unpleasant to chew.


I look at a bunch of grapes in the bowl
and even their refusal to grow alone
is nature’s unnerving bell clanging out
when I’m trying to sleep
in the afternoon.


The feeling of remembered love
is so easy to put in the oven and heat up.
It’s your ears I long for
when my hands are empty.

The Glass Boat

We ate peaches on a balcony
above the dirtiest
car park you can imagine.

The sea was a slice
at the bottom of the sky.
The undersides of our feet

were powdery grey and we
pawed dirt through the room
like absent-minded dogs.

When we took a slow walk
through the village with its
warm fish blood smell and

houses bearded with purple
flowers, the small cats
without homes made me sad,

which isn’t to mention
the small dogs without homes
that did the same to you

(my companion).
Later we watched the tide
lick away a declaration

of love in the sand.
And then, the next bright
morning, our tiny guide

led us through the bitey
currents of a gorge, then into
a rushing chest-deep stretch,

holding our bags up above
his head. We had never
known water so greedy,

or our bodies so rag-like
and betrayed. Each time
we were sucked down,

the black stones cut into
our shins and the tops
of our feet. Blood puffed

out into the white water,
trailing behind us, then onto
tissue, like roses. I wore

nothing under my sundress
on the drive back and the air
flowed around underneath it

(my mischievous friend).
That early evening,
we looked down through

the glass bottom
of a small boat, drinking
cold bottled beer.

The shock of the morning
was a goosebumpy
memory, the sleepy water

below us was a lie and the
unbelievable silver of the fish
didn’t belong to our world,

as they streamed
and streamed past,
a sudden influx of robots.