Gösser Straße 79
Snow crowns the letterbox,
remakes every part of the street;
by day the sky is uncoloured,
skaters pattern the lake.
In the bluish-mauve dusk,
by the window –
in the glass, a globe of light
beside their small faces –
‘We’ve got to tell Mama
the moon is half broken’,
& when you look, it is.
She writes to tell him
that, staring into the dark,
mountains don’t change.
How in sleep she has
discovered she can
knows every star,
calling each one
From the reverse of
he learns that she
joins her letters
There was a night you dragged all the furniture out into the hallway,
lifted the carpet on your bedroom floor & coloured the ground beneath
with clay-thick paints, charting seas & landmasses, the world opening up
like a book across the flooring: emerald plant life & moon rock-glaciers;
coastlines cliffed & jagged, or bordered by clear blue shallows, treasured
with coral & pearls. Rivers breaking through the earth like veins,
& the band of equator splitting the picture in two. You painted yourself
into a corner & slept the night there, resting your head against the wall,
skin stained & hair matted with dye. Nights later we replaced the bed
& I found myself on my back with my head over Sweden & Botswana
somewhere beneath my feet. You soft-talking to me from your pillow,
hair spilled about Canada & feet dipped in the South Pacific Ocean.
Weeks after this you brought home white paint, thickened it with flour
& cornstarch, & raked a whirling white mass across your atlas.
You applied threads of rain & grey-leaded lightning bolts to the edges
of cumulonimbus formations, then thinned them with water & turps
letting expanses of Earth show through beneath wisps of cirrus. We made flocks
of paper birds with precise folds, wings & beaks sharp, & strung these from
the starred ceiling, migrating south into the stars. Your room was a wilderness
of space & Earth, disproportionate, & for a time we were the centre of it.