Poems

Bend Sinister

And that’s where I came in:
the initial switcharoo, transplanting
coal for teddy in the sleeping boy’s arms,
then a whole circus of tricks.
I had to learn quickly; how to diffuse
daddy in the phone with a click,
the daily pick-up, edicts to counter intuition
like ‘titles aren’t in blood but earned’
and all those doing words like ‘fathering’
that you don’t hear much – a frisbee’s
deft trick of itself. We’d got away
to Sutton-on-Sea, and here, disc in hand,
I transfigured; would whip the air
like cream, lay an eclipse
across the loungers. The kid
would lift the lid on my secrets,
but hock it, and it would skid off the axis,
capsize and freewheel to the sand.
I knew better, caressed it, knew its tilt
and loll, its reluctance to rush and slid it
lush onto a crest of air, traced
its lazing zip-line trajectory
until I got so good that I could ram it
chin up into the sun and have it
hurtle back to my open palm.
Once I had learned the reverse fling
I could dive, predict its physic, pluck it
ripe from its course with a snappy puppet hand
and loose it back before I hit the sand.
I returned to my brother
an Olympian, and taught him
all I knew about this counter-intuition
and the art of letting go.

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