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Two Poems

The Dentist’s Chair

 

 

 

I dreamt of the dentist’s chair, that it wore a smart pair of formica trousers and leant itself back in smiling delight when you sat into it, wanting for nothing but the pallid creases in the backs of your knees, and a bead of sweat to follow the seam, implying that the only viable way to this is through your teeth

 

And before we left and walked out between the narrow grin of two tall buildings we began crying with happiness at the X-ray of your teeth, bleached out and nailed to a light-box on the wall ­– how they’d never been asked for their impression on matters until he took the alginate mould, just decaying stoically in your mouth’s dark, but how on the wall they wailed

 

And now when I turn back to look at you on the street, I see how the brightness of the X-ray has impressed upon my eye and it is present as the tulips flirting on a canvas mount above the dentist’s head, as an extra tooth behind the upper row that is nudged with a tongue’s nervousness, as someone else’s contented child quietly enjoying the just macaroni and butter at the end of the kitchen table as you get on with the chores

 

But here the dream’s smile began to get a little wan and my own teeth began feeling ratty and the surgery was becoming something we had only remote knowledge of – like the toxic passage of carcinogens chancing their way past your teeth through your knees, and this could be a language the dentist’s chair speaks

 

 

 

Sky Pavilion

 

 

 

We trust the power lines to run forever overhead

to cover our intimacies

and itineraries: taxes and car stereos

 

schools that double as evacuation halls

a man who will dutifully come

to fix the wires when we don’t see him

there is always one like him to call

 

Just before the envelope is torn

in a village some miles down

a boy is testing his voice on the comfy

confine of his childhood bedroom

letting himself fester for the first time

 

He spins a globe by the acid light of his computer

in dim winter, stabs an accusatory finger

at random; tears a hole in its fabric as the power cuts out

 


ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTOR

is a co-editor of the anthology series clinic. His pamphlet was recently published by Faber as part of the Faber New Poets scheme.

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