Where and When to Reflect. and Anchor. by Thomas Hutchinson

Through the muck that coats the coach window,
streets bow like the body of a fallen oak
reaching out for the air that creeps ‘tween his brothers’ planted feet,
and remains so elusive
through their leaves, falling to meet me

Visiting, I’m only visiting

I’ll catch the return around nine;
get home so late
that even the image of your broken head – pipes within you,
and parents fingering the silence for a rhyme – won’t
keep me from the arms of an easy sleep

Though streets get straighter
on the homeward leg – shopfronts boarded over,
and the brethren walking home, alone – I know
that as silence falls those arrows may splinter,
and pin me to the earth, where blood has commanded

I rest my feet on the radiator;
feel nothing much, only rings within the warmth growing less,
and less numerous – their colours fading as they go – and watch
the stars beyond the canopy of brown leaves, feathers, and creased flags
turn grey – dead to me, seeking
like they’ll forever be crowded out by rain

I can’t see for breathing;
head beneath the surface, spelling
poorly in the spherical air
my ask of the walrus bathing on the rocks:
pierce your tusks through the ceiling
– over me, like a loving son – ‘til
my loudest thoughts observe an end;
only the softest-spoken overtures stay,
bobbing on the surface like a suspended debt,
waiting to be picked, and turned over,
as carefully as they were dreamed,
and the polished tongue retreats, having
dampened old roars,
'til the sharp end of a lesson extends,
and reels in my grasping, barnacled hands