the ghost of a chance


that’s the heart,
pouring 20 litres
a minute through
the bizarre plumbing unit
of the human body,
28,800 litres per day!
imagine if it were fruit juice
or a nice, warm chamomile

but the blood informs us,
we are iron-y, we inflame,
we are thick, physical

if the heart pumped tea
we would be steamy
apparitions, part cloud,
yes, cloud creatures,
scudding about, mumbling,
slow-forming, reforming,
you’d just get a conversation
going and your cloud friend
would dissipate, float off,
or worse, overflow in rain
and electric sparks.

and of course we’re
monsters of skin
and bone and bacterium
but what if we were
amalgams of tectonic plates
continuously shifting
and crashing into new
the commonplace
volcano erupting on the
face and neck,
earthquakes rumbling through the belly,
massive tsunami racing
across the scapular seas.

i say this as i stare across the library
at a map of the western Mediterranean,
and in my advancing myopia
it strikes me
that Spain and Morocco
once were lovers
and stare at one another
not certain if they should get back together
and the Strait of Gibraltar
has come between them
like an unyielding father,
“No fooling around until you marry
my Morocco!”
but Spain has wearied of
and is resolved in his decision
to move north at the rapid pace
of five centimeters per annum.
Morocco wants to follow him
but she’s moving a little east
and in several million years
will probably fall for America instead.
ah, to be young and tectonic again.

as the last of my morning tea
and the ill-begotten memory
of being pulled over by the police
for not wearing a helmet
wear off, fade, and turn to
a sour taste in my mouth,
i am everywhere at once:
in the dusty metal tubes of the
courtesy wheelchair,
in the cartilage of the aged librarian’s
ear canals, above it all in the
soft explosions (too rapid for
the human eye to appreciate)
of fluorescent lighting,
dancing down the rope chains
which separate the reserve readings
from the map drawers,
even, at last, in my own
commonplace arteries,
regular as clock-work,
squeezing out
ten million, five hundred thousand litres
of sticky red fruit juice every year.


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