Column 20

This week an almost genteel poem with very un-genteel undertones by Anne-Marie Fyfe, one which threatens to get the reader as hot under the collar as the poem’s protagonists. Somehow it seems appropriate for the stifling temperatures we’ve been experiencing this summer. It’s from one of Anne-Marie’s earlier collections, Tickets from a Blank Window, published by Rockingham Press; her latest collection is House of Small Absences, by Seren.

Passing Through Rooms at Eventide

They resume each night in the balm of aniseed –
wedding-album poses under disconnected
room-lights, make small-talk in Amish
shirt-collars, play Persian Roulette with blanks,
turnabout, blindfold for that 100% frisson
as the wireless submerges between wave-lengths.
He thumbs a nightly gazetteer that once was
her uncle’s; she pats another day’s undone
needlepoint, ochre-yellow skeins oily
from overfingering. Step-for-step they prowl
the apartment’s temperate regions
checking for drippy faucets; he plays,
in passing, arpeggios on a hall-cold upright.
Relentless, she readies clocks, rewinds,
sets each to a different time-frame
and sashays like a girl who waits to be kissed.
A girl who wants to be kissed. Properly.


Used with kind permission of Anne-Marie Fyfe and Rockingham Press.