Reconstruction

This is a poem is somewhere between a prose poem and whatever one likes to define as  free verse. It first appeared in Babel Fruit in 2008.

http://web.mac.com/renkat/Autumn_08/Elizabeth_Stott.html

 

Reconstruction

 

 

My friend wishes to re-make herself from sackcloth and ashes.

 

Take the ashes of stars, I advise,

and sackcloth made

from the recycled garments of saints.

 

You haven’t seen the scars, she replies.

 

Months later, after doing nothing,

she decides on brown paper and string.

 

I tell her that she must use brown paper shaved

from the sunlight that skims fields of ripe grain at harvest –

string twisted from the hair of mermaids.

 

She tells me I should reconsider the blonde streaks, go on a diet.

 

For a year, her clothes make her look like a parcel,

covering her from shoulder to knee.

 

I am so lucky, I know. I carry on with my sympathy,

stop wearing low-cut blouses in her company.

 

Abruptly, she moves on.

Her wrapping is gone, leaving a soft, pale form.

She says that sand and straw will do to pad her out.

 

Then take the sand from eternity’s hourglass I tell her,

and the straw from the stable of a unicorn.

 

Apparently I am fatuous, and probably vain.

I go away – reconsider the blonde streaks, go on a diet.

 

In my absence, she fashions for herself a golden bodice,

more beautiful than the breastplate of a queen’s battledress.

 

She tells me that one has to earn this.

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