Anne Compton

Three Poems

Fire and Grammar

How is it you can miss what you still have?
Earlier versions crowding the chesterfield –

agrammatical. Backward run the sentences.
Broca’s area of the brain unable to manage.

Lordy, lordy, where’s the rapture gone?
What comes through the night – sensible in rainwear
and step-ins – a has-been. No heat to it whatsoever.

The past’s a train – tracks torn up. Rabbits and rodents
overrunning the rail-bed.

Everyone’s late to nostalgia: It’s where you have to go
on foot. Whinging over the cinders.

It’s not possible to be active in the past,
and passive sentences are a tedious think-through:

Headlamp to my hurrying feet, the future: What a mistake that was.

So busy with the finish, I forgot to burnish
the everyday brass: Sconce either side the daylit mirror.

Mirrors are lateral thinkers: Reverse left to right. Likewise,
the left brain talks to the right foot. Verticality, so far.

When you’re done for good, the one that’s full-length
shows the image upended.

Wittgenstein’s duck-rabbit has to be this or that,
but what happens when the barnyard empties?

Another way of putting it: Soon as it comes
into being, the past’s a fiction. The one you loved,

relocated there: Flensed to a few words, a paragraph maybe.
And yourself? Already, someone’s fingering the spine.



  1. Three Poems - The Manchester Review | Poetry Ne... - May 2013

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