A.R. Lamb

the bogs

the bogs
the giant bogboats
the dumb men wrapped in scarves and bandages
the mucous mist
the torn women with their ladles and their groans
the shabby heron
the wormy children dreaming of the sun
the featherless hens shivering in the hold

all vanished
and all yet to come
to come

she would wash

she would wash her face with a lemon
she would put a pie to bake in the fridge
she would confuse her husband with her son
she would mistake the pier for a bridge

she knew the sea well
but the sea didn't know her at all
and often tried to drown her

her rescuers came in droves
swimming all kinds of exotic strokes
but the life they saved was not a happy one

when they laid her on the pebbles
and resuscitated her
she was grateful
not for what they'd done
but for what they thought they'd done


* the midwife fainted

the midwife fainted and was carried from the ward
with an electrical storm raging beneath her uniform

her landmarks were illuminated in flashes
her pinnacles and her steeples sharp
against her starched sky

herself went into highspeed labour
and gave birth to a baby ball of lightning
neither male nor female
which floated through the maternity wing
pursued by orderlies with buckets of darkness


it's just

it's just a joke, said Zeno
it's just a justajoke
it's just a justajustajoke
and so on

and so on these rungs he climbed
but no-one else followed
everyone else thinking them unsafe

and so he was alone in space
which was funny enough
but a little too peaceful for comfort -
he needed some friction

and so he rubbed his backside against the atmosphere
producing a delightful shower of shooting stars
which everyone down below
who happened to be looking up
mistook for meteors

* "the midwife fainted" first appeared in Disquieting Muses, February 2000.