This edition of Poetry Corner features the work of C.A Batterbee.
For his nineteenth birthday he was given a camera,
and every year for the next six he would take a few pictures.
Most amounted to nothing, but some showed promise.
One such picture upon being taken, lifted itself before his face and
slowly…floated away from him.
He followed it through his dingy little house,
down a long and winding patio, through his allotment, all the way into his shed by the pond.
It suspended itself in front of the far wall, facing him.
Very gradually, the picture changed.
He didn’t sit, intending to leave soon.
He stared- closer-
– closer –
The fruits of his life passed before him to the sound of a German fairytale. As the years left he stared ever intently at the photo, listening harder to the music, waiting for the final image, always meaning to leave.
On the eve of the seventeenth year, a knock came at the door of the shed.
He ignored it, blankly staring at the still vibrant picture.
‘Excuse me sir, would you like to come out?’ it was a man’s voice.
I’ll come out in my own time.
‘I’ll count to three, and then I’m going to leave, okay? If you want to come with me, you just say.’
Just a moment longer,
I need to see where this is going,
I don’t feel like going outside just yet. I like it here.
And with that he looked down at his
A pool of sand had enveloped him almost up to the knees,
as he watched he sank further and faster and faster and
further and it was almost a miracle that as he turned he saw a broom and thought to grab it and launch it with all his meagre might at the latch.
And the door opened.
The man was no longer outside.
In a distant allotment was a woman, pulling up vegetables.
He shouted for “help!”
She rushed through the f/i/e/l/d/s toward him,
whilst he did his best not to look d
She [froze] in the doorway, stood
A tentative doe.
Now, nipple-deep in gloopy sand substance he offers to her the other end of the broom,
watery eyes imploring,
She grabs firmly onto it, one foot in the shed.
The sand looks almost willing to let him go.
He slides up a few inches.
She pulls again with all her strength and
he is lifted further from doom.
She pulls again
but now he is sinking faster.
She races into the shed and with one hand on the frame
wrenches him by his arm
he clings to her shoulder and
they both drop to the floor on their backs, panting heavily.
I went into a dusty shop
and bought a box to keep your letters.
The man at the counter was sad to see it go,
face moving slowly;
clay being thumbed into a frown.
“That there’s been here longer ‘n I have” he said.
It set my hands at perfect angles to hold,
all the way home I studied and stared;
two birds carved into the lid
wings meeting, necks craning, trees protecting.
On top I keep that bracelet,
the one mum gave, before.
(When I stand it up, inside out, it looks like a stone circle.)
What do you want for Christmas?
As soon as I’ve got the money, I’ll come down.
Hope everything went okay last week.
Just the other night,
your song came on the radio,
I almost fell out of bed!
I’m making you another mixtape tonight,
songs that remind me of you
to remind you of me.
Adults with imaginary friends make me nervous:
I’m glad that for the most part
they stick to their own.
They’re well meaning and friendly,
as the fear of death makes anyone.
The universal straw man won’t drive them extinct
and by God it’s trying,
picking at the remains
of a two thousand year banquet.
But Phineas lived longer
than the average Persian king
and harpies were no picnic.
The rabbi, mother,
is not in the same boat as you or I,
watch before you follow,
lest you stumble upon Poseidon.
The last time it meant anything,
I was still learning to swim.
The light was different then,
and it reflected well on both of us.
Three days in a hundred,
not a minute lost.
We kissed in water
and fell asleep on your floor.
The last time,
I booked a room
and we sat bleary-eyed on the bed,
you; decorated, mistreated, misled,
We drank, smoked and fucked,
and lied about how much we both still mattered.