Six jots stuck to the edge of a sink.
Askance, wings pinned
to the lip of the bowl,
glued to glaucous smears
of stale toothpaste,
the spume shadow
of yesterday’s mouthwash.
Captured them, stumped, inside
thumb and forefinger.
Wondered if all had eked full lives.
Had all at least once felt
heart chords stutter.
Drawn like Narcissi to plumb-
depths of reflection, each bevelled
speck of water, souvenir
from when the tap last shed
its spring of tears.
Tried to dole names, erect personal
histories; mythologies steeped in
the nacreous surge of Atlantis.
Aft-while each epoch burred the same
then eddied into nothing.
Sleeplessness. Homer. Taut sails.*
Took each lapsed scull, scaled along
the cradle of my palm, struggled
to find the words to fill a makeshift elegy.
gods make their own importance.**
Slowly, twisted the tap’s cruciate.
Watched them whorl away.
*from ‘Sleepless. Homer. Taut sails…’ by Osip Mandelstam (trans. James Greene)
**from ‘Epic’ by Patrick Kavanagh