Shorter works


My bile is oval
I play marbles with it on the parking attendant’s navel
He sits on my self-righteousness
And sings a carol of correctness

My bile rolls back and forth
Spelling out words
As we both stare in anticipation

The seagulls sing of distant disputes
A caterpillar wriggles its bum in momentary discomfort
The paint peels rather more than it should on the municipal signs censoring grass-walking
A pocket of sherbet hatches from beneath one peeled shard
And takes flight in a pang of pleasure
Which makes a cat stare, frozen-eyed, mouth set in the zenith of a lazy yawn
For one moment forgetting to make its catty noise
As the sherbet is sprayed by a breeze
Infecting the sky with an imperceptible wash of cyan
Which settles on the afternoon like the deep memory of a long-lost smile
Which surfaces in the cat’s loins
Transforming its noise so minutely that only the caterpillar notices
Whose bum wriggles back to its previous posture
And the almost-lost disharmony is restored to the impartial paving slabs beneath my feet
As the words complete
And my mouth sings them involuntarily, as the chorus to a carol:

“But I am pregnant, and my baby is freedom,
Come sing with me,
The pain was worth it,
The pain is over,
The pain was salvation.”