2 Poems for March
Even as her brother dies,
the buttons of her school blazer stay in their loops,
the pleats of her tunic keep their creases and swing
with chic around her knees.
Her gesture’s from a supermarket aisle conversation,
her brows caught in an arch of
what by any other name is arrogance.
There was a Coke in my hand,
the day I thought I’d killed a man –
standing in the road
with my car like groceries scattered from a split bag,
thinking, here’s where the story ends.
He says he’s roughed her up a bit, and she touches her cheek vaguely;
he wishes to hell she’d put something on;
the moment is well and truly dead and he’s been fully clothed for hours, it seems,
pacing about behind her and shuffling papers on a table or picking up the telephone
and putting it down again; asks if she’d like anything, needs anything, money?
Makes a fleeting joke.
She laughs rather too loudly, and goes out onto the balcony.
He follows her out, but the wind strikes them and they trail back in.
She puts on her underwear with the hunch of a good loser, walks to the kitchen;
in the window above the sink she sees her reflection and his –
in the room behind her, looking at the back window.
The elevator rolls up like a diving bell –
they talk about disposable razors and admire the paintings the old women have put up
in the hall: a pulpy little girl, semi-clothed in rags; a portrait of a man in a vest beside a racehorse.
She fingers her cheek, and it flushes under her touch.