Twenty Haiku for my Dentist

The waiting room is empty. The fish come up for air You beckon me. Clouds through frosted glass. Your partners, indifferent., walk through in white coats. Around me, you place the bib. I am not demeaned Beneath, we’re human. You leave the room to take a picture of me. Please take me in profile. The taste of metal on my tongue. I learn the physics of attraction. My hand clutches my arm a little tighter. You talk above the whirr. These words somehow slow the drill as you repeat them, somewhere above me. The grinding drill you call my favourite part. How did you know? ‘A rough guess.’ You are older than you look. It doesn’t bother me and then it does. The outside world has become the task. You fix the clamp inside my mouth. Anaesthetic. My present self is a swirling one. I smell your hair. Camille Claudel you’d maim me, were I Rodin, and make me think again. Cautiously, I eye the nurse. She makes amalgam. No jealous sparkle. One fact cannot escape me. That warmth at my temple must be your breast. The radio holds the room’s stasis. Sweet lyrics – Your instruments’ names. You ask me to take a heavy bite. Peep inside my cheek now, voyeur. Your gloved fingers track my lips, but never trace. Now, come outside with me. Your name on the plaque outside. The pub across the street has just opened. With moist hands, I hold my numb face. Winter sunlight is claiming the street. Reluctantly, I submit your small signature on the prescription. Roddy Lumsden

A Process in the Weather of the Heart

A process in the weather of the heart Turns damp to dry; the golden shot Storms in the freezing tomb. A weather in the quarter of the veins Turns night to day; blood in their suns Lights up the living worm. A process in the eye forwarns The bones of blindness; and the womb Drives in a death as life leaks out. A darkness in the weather of the eye Is half its light; the fathomed sea breaks on unangled land. The seed that makes a forest of the loin Forks half its fruit; and half drops down, Slow in a sleeping wind. A weather in the flesh and bone is damp and dry; and quick and dead Move like two ghosts before the eye. A process in the weather of the world Turns ghost to ghost; each mothered child Sits in their double shade. A process blows the moon into the sun, Pulls down the shabby curtains of the skin’ And the heart gives up its dead. Dylan Thomas

Stuffed

I put two yellow peepers in an owl. Wow. I fix the grin of Crocodile. Spiv. I sew the slither of an eel. I jerk, kick-start, the back hooves of a mule. Wild. I old a red rag to a bull. Mad. I spread the feathers of a gull. I screw a tight snarl to a weasel. Fierce. I stitch the flippers on a seal. Splayed. I pierce the heartbeat of a quail. I like her to be naked and to kneel. Tame. My motionless, my living doll. Mute. And afterwards I like her not to tell. Carol Anne Duffy

Long Legged Fly

That civilisation may not sink,
Its great battle lost,
Quiet the dog, tether the pony
To a distant post;
Our master Caesar is in the tent
Where the maps are spread,
His eyes fixed upon nothing,
A hand upon his head.
Like a long-legged fly upon the stream
His mind moves upon silence.
That the topless towers be burnt
And men recall that face,
Move most gently if move you must
In this lonely place.
She thinks, part woman, three parts a child,
That nobody looks; her feet
Practise a tinker shuffle
Picked up on a street.
Like a long-legged fly upon the stream
Her mind moves upon silence.
That girls at puberty may find
The first Adam in their thought,
Shut the door of the Pope’s chapel,
Keep those children out.
There on that scaffolding resides
Michael Angelo.
With no more sound than the mice make
His hand moves to and fro.
Like a long-legged fly upon the stream
His mind moves upon silence.

WB Yeats