The Wood Turner
Hardly a stretch of skin without a crease,
tufts of hair from every possible place,
cataract eye, flesh just on its frame;
and yet before him, an array of the smoothest wood
the finest grain, burnished with oil and love,
making bowls your fingers ached to touch.
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What We Learned in Playgrounds:
the mystery of public space, unfettered.
How adults do not rule in every place.
An affinity for airstrips and roads;
the taste of asphalt, sucked from wells. We learned
of soul mates, hanging off railings with Paul
from the orphanage - then one day he was gone.
Of swirling gangs, led by those who will later lead
the country. Of weather, how its good for you,
its puddle contours; how to yearn for a radiator.
The worrying fatness of thighs on benches.
The strangeness of girls, their games of hair
and rope we once dared ourselves play.
Dark rumours of menstruation. Of playground refuge
from forced semolina. The precise partitions of age;
how to be victim, how then to perpetrate.