Song For O

by Luke Otley

Take it
you said, note between your two forefingers
crumpled, mauve,
still alien after eight months.
I know you got it hard
you said

Yes – poor me
my poor alarm set
sentimental to five to five
the pain in my back
a light sleeper
piercing like a crow’s call
as I move
like a clumsy astronaut,
gravity and all the stars against him
alone in space,
through the compression chamber
to the driver’s seat.

I might have agreed, at least in part
if I hadn’t heard your tale
told around the totalled nose
of your four by four;
a misunderstanding with a tree.

And you told it laughing
and with false starts,
complete with tangents, stops
and distractions,
How you almost lost your little finger
preparing chicken for your dinner
How all you wanted was a simple life
How you almost came to kill your wife
How psychologists will never get
the feeling of a child dead
How you sold Ice to jump past your backward steps
How you might end it all ’cause you’ve nothing left
And that pretty much brings us up to speed
to the misunderstanding with a tree.

I stood in wonder
cloaked in the dark
and marvelled at your world,
a world which made atomic blasts
look like mere children’s toys,
and the next morning
at five to five
I woke easy,
took a breath,