Black Milk

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Peek-A-Boo Bunny Blue Money Box,
My First Tooth Enamel China Pot,
Gift Box Set of Four Rose Petal Cupcakes.
lie down in the bath tonight

Pair of Ellie the Elephant Ribbon-Tie Booties,
Organic Natural Cotton Love Snuggle Blanket with Pastel Trim,
Yummy Mummy Scented Candle Gift Set.
roll off the changing table

First Impression Handprint Clay for Newborn,
Baby Blossom Three Part Photo Frame for Mother and Child,
Customized Apple Print Washable Burp Cloth.
neck nipped in between the cot bars

Blessings 9ct Gold Baby Bracelet with Inscription,
Little Birds Wind-Up Pearl Detail Cot Mobile,
Rock-A-My Baby Rocking Horse in Caramel Wood Finish.
hear it call, wild and naked in the dark

July

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I met him in the woods,
by the creek. The
desiccant grass bristled
underfoot; the trees refused
the coaxing wind,
as we traipsed our awkward path
to the water.

Absurd, to say he
could
have loved me.

As absurd as stepping
into the creek itself,
amidst the plaited weeds –
tremulous and sleek.

In The Cornfield

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The moonless night has wrung out
the whitewashed
hours of day,
and snowflakes gather like lint
from the open pocket
of the sky.

Somewhere, a corncrake caws into
the stillness;
its echo rings,
and in the woods beyond, branches
crack like splintered bones
in the chill.

I lay low beneath the frozen earth,
the seasons
sink my body,
and you will not think to look beneath,
so you will not hear or
see me there.

Rules

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The eyes are green. Who
knew? He has a look.

A wolf is in him.

He has figured out that the
most part of him is
wolf
and it lurks and seethes in his eyes, snarling
and guttural.

Everything else is tranquil and flat.
Cool as cruel.

This is a disaster.

Boilerman

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The Boilerman is tinkering in the other room. That’s not the proper name for the job, is it? Is it electrician? I want to say thermal electrician. Thermal engineer? Heating specialist. Hot water professional. I should have checked his pin badge, when he knocked. Coffee, milk, and one.

He’s battering away at something, throwing noise down the hall; every few seconds I can hear flushing sounds and scratching sounds, and the sounds of a drill. We didn’t have proper milk, only soy. Prentendy milk. I imagine him waiting for me to leave the room and then tipping it down the sink.

From the next room, I hear him opening something. Every new sound is different from the last. I imagine him levering the lid off a special biscuit tin full of various objet d’art, taking each curious item in his hands and creating new and different sounds with them, to bemuse and confuse the anxious listener in the next room: milk bottle brush, cloth sack of wrenches, welly boot, a cylindrical musical instrument that mimics the sound of thunder, wooden door stop, baby’s rattle, squeaky hinge. Every now and again, he churns out a grunt or wheezes a little, indicating the severity of the problem at hand. It sounds a complex routine.

He probably thinks that milk’s gone off. Came in, saw the mess, assumed the milk was a no-go. Did he even try it? I can’t remember seeing him try it. Air bubbles move through the pipes in the ceiling, like ropes of dirty pearls, and now I can hear him on the phone to Colin, It’s Andy. Motorised valve. Dodgy. Downcomer. Drum.

Anyway, I’m down the hall, wanting to kill myself again. I toy with the idea of not waiting for him to leave, imagining him shouting up the hallway, getting no response. Hello? Plodding down the hallway carpet, unsure of how far to explore before he’s out of acceptable territory. Yer there? Would he open the bedroom door? What about the bathroom door? Which would be least invasive? A rogue image flickers through my mind, of his red, hairy hands pulling a mealy limb from the bathtub before letting it fall, smacking the still and unmoving surface of the water. Perhaps he’d talk about it later that night, two pints deep in the pub, remarking about the temperature of the bathwater, or the way you never can tell about people.

Milk was off, he’d say.