Poetry

Zurbaran’s folds

St Serapion, I wrap myself in the robes of your
whiteness which is like midnight in Dostoevsky.

               —Frank O’Hara, Meditations in an Emergency

1.

And you loiter in the folds of his drapes—in that space
between light and dark, where grey has a spectrum
all its own—and you whisper. But I can’t quite hear you.

(And look at what it’s doing to me!) I 

stand on Platform 1 and squander eight minutes
staring at a lighthouse on an unseen fringe. It winks at me
and I ponder its message—not the million-dollar vista, 

or the cloudless sky, or your vague blue eyes,
No!—I read it like I read you. As a portend
of some great discovery. 

(How Middle Ages I’ve become!) We 

find our rhythm on the train as it crosses
the Bridge that spans the harbour and like spaghetti,
disappears into the tunnel’s mouth. 

2.

I’ve been
   riding this train of thought for weeks
   and I still don’t know where it’s going.

I was
   reading you while listening to
   Robbie Williams sing “Mack the Knife”.

I went
   to the theatre with Senor Lorca, bumped
   into Herr Brecht and the Penny dropped.

I found
   an old copy and was well on my way
   through Act 1 (Scene 2) when that train
jumped its tracks. 

3. 

And from the shadows of Zurbarán’s folds
where coincidences foreshadow nights white
with heartache, your whisper reaches my ear
“It’s only afternoon, there’s a lot ahead.”

Later, somewhere between dusk and dark,
I glimpse you in a flash of orange,
standing still and walking to the pulse of Prokofieff,
naked save your boots and a yellow tag.

                                                    Jacqui Wise

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