Stages

by Philip Berry

transition
sleep flows beneath the streets.
streams weave without direction.
colours churn, ripples glisten, unfinished plots
move near edges
ready to dissolve in dawn’s pale light

the insomniac hears the trickle & thrum
she feels its pull,
but when she closes her eyes

spindle
iron-feathered thoughts flit across the ceiling,
peck at her temples –

WILL HE LEARN TO READ RIGHT?
WHAT WILL FATHER’S SCAN SHOW?
I WISH I HADN’T SAID THAT,
I WISH THEY’D NEVER MET,
HOW DO I FACE THE DAY?
THERE IS &&&&&SO
&&&&&&&MUCH
&&&&&&&&&&&& TO

delta
sated now they release her
let her fall, limbs heavy on the sheet
palms curved in repose
paralysed, yet aware
at threshold she exhales, her breath sweet
grateful

deep
but anxiety feels the breeze
reaches down, its skeletal hand
gleaming in the green & pink neon
of a world she would pay to leave
if only for an hour
shakes its peeling cranium
grips her cool ankle

rapid
lifts her past columns of windows
crammed to the corners
with half-faced judges showing
squared off mouths

hangs her from the moon’s
lowermost horn
leaves her there ‘til morning
careful to scratch the name
of each passing hour
across the night

in a radium scrawl.

 

Philip’s poems have appeared in Lucent Dreaming, Black Bough, Lunate Fiction and Re-side among others. He also writes flash, CNF and books for children. He lives in London and works as a doctor.

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