I am awake, you are asleep; I stand at the window, the orange light of the Polski sklep flashing across my face, memorised like a fingerprint, just as intricate, and the black expanse of night, splitting the light, an incantation, spread out like a billowing, ink shirt, capacity of promises near to completion, punctuated only by the on-off truth of the brash neon light; behind me a body lies
There is a body, my body, but it acts more like a locked cabinet than a weapon; I shake out the instructions for assembly, watch the tiny white plastic screws fall to the floor, roll under the bed, loosen new paths around the room and I cannot make them go back together, brackets point the wrong way, planes stand lopsided, the rough side faces out for all the world to see
The light sings in understanding, but the world wants to know all about the body, your body, stretched out on the bed, lying, with legs twisted, lungs moving like wings, freed, out of time but not out of space, perfectly content with its blood to cell to hormone ratio, mouth tugged slightly open, cheeks blushed with sleep’s embrace, perforating the light wrapped around its pointed glow like bedsheets
I am awake, you are awake; I stand at the window, watching the raised neon light serenade the black expanse of night, an infatuation, as you stir, sift through the parts of you, shuffle the transaction from your pocket, begin the moments of return to your wife, 2.4 kids, SUV and rusting lawnmower, signing cloaked pledges with the outside world
Who wants to know about the body outside the light? The body is where the eye tracks, beholden to the gaze’s assertion. Me just a performance for your body’s indulgence, you, unlearning negotiations of the light’s understanding, perfect carbon copy of who you’d like to be, a quartet of sirens and a fist
S. K. Grout grew up in Auckland, New Zealand and currently lives in London, England. She is the author of the micro chapbook “to be female is to be interrogated” (2018, the poetry annals). Her work also appears in Landfall, Crannóg, The Interpreter’s House, L’Éphémère Review and elsewhere.