Quick, Emily Has Sellotaped Us to the Fridge Again
Your butterfly, pink and big as a number 35 bus
nosedives, wings squiggled, its antennae sort-of bursting into
what used to be a portrait of your best friend at school, Eddy
who has become a scribbled-out cloud. All we can see
of his hand salutes like Wile E. Coyote
in a fizzle of smoke and
a drop. Below a crease in the paper, Floosy the neighbour’s pitbull grins
at his new bone the size of a telephone box in the park.
We must savour the anticipation of its burial, as you, our artist, is eager
to chromatically intensify the scene before
nunny ice cream. Your mother and your sister and you and I smile
the way four tipped plates of spaghetti might smile.
And look just how superbly happy we are,
as the gargantuan Butterfly of Death
plummets towards the whole family – even now,
in the face of disaster we’ve taken a moment
to face the same way and say ‘Cheese’ as the sun, 92 million miles
closer, engulfs one quarter of the sky.
And we’re oblivious to the higgledy-piggledy felt tip dashes of the sun’s
thermonuclear rays which will probably incinerate everybody.
Utterly transparent cars swerve off Ullswater Road
and it’s too late for Eddy the cloud, and probably for us too.
Seconds from the solar paroxysm, the non-figurative
representation of your sister is being sucked into space.
You have portrayed her here, where she levitates in green, just as the sub-tectonic bulge
in the planet’s surface signals the imminent disintegration
of all coherence on Earth. A rainbow of soggy magma already plumes
out of the top of our flat. The sadness of the computer
next to me, but through our heads, our names rise over each other
as if we are singing them across the growing noise of the hoover and
up to the aeroplanes, like your-hand-over-your-mouth-laughter
like Daddy is so silly,
like this is just the way the world is now, and not…
not the end of it.
Harry Man’s poetry has appeared in magazines and anthologies including ‘Poems in the Waiting Room’ and ‘The Grand Tour’, an anthology of poets from throughout Europe. He was the winner of the Bridges of Struga Award and was selected for Poem of the North. ‘Finders Keepers’, a collaboration with the artist Sophie Gainsley, was shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry. You can find more of his work at www.manmadebooks.co.uk
Image by Julio Pablo Vázquez