page 32 of Tarot #6
All day he labours during lockdown
his pale fingers hammer keys, his bedroom office
a haven from the open plan melee of the lounge
where the kids do bursts of schoolwork
between Playstation rounds and skids of egg and beans
stick to unrinsed plates in the sink.
Each night, the film crew shoot their features –
drunk gaffer lighting, French film script, addled editing.
Beneath his velveteen frock coat, crimson toe-curled slippers
capped with bells jingle with each step he takes past
the crashed candelabra on the dinner table and out
through the open French doors to the guests
sleeping in the garden where with a pickpocket’s touch
he lifts the smouldering dimp from the corner
of his snoring uncle’s mouth and asks
“Has anyone seen the dog?”
Then wakes to a winter storm battering the house
the rain blurred yellow lights of the avenue
the dog, months dead, no longer needing his walk.
The kids will soon be up — there’s a good half-hour
for a coffee and a shave before morning emails.
That night the crew will be back and with them
the chance to see departed friends as he steps
through the bedroom window without a clue
as to which street he lives on or where he’ll be going.
page 33 of Tarot #6
Back then I could not say where I was going
dust devils stirred at the crossroads
outside the Guangdong factory
where my father ordered next season’s
Valentine heart gorillas.
At night the library carrels were empty
as manuka stars flicked the dark
and blurred like grass blades on the edge
of a tea tree’s shade.
I had forgotten all that until this morning
when I told you how I’ve blotted out
some of the best hand drawn miniatures of my want.
You put down your fork and said
there’s a Bollywood song about two young innocents
who wait for a long departed train
they stare down the tracks to the dry far hills.
She sings “When did all the others
we could have met leave the station?”
That’s when the strings rise, the thunder breaks
and the rain comes. They race towards
each other as pink and purple garlands
fall from the sky, hand in hand
they begin to bhangra in time
from one supposed present to another.