Forced to hang upside-down like a bat in the airless hallway
your nose pressed against the wall in the diffident light of our lugubrious terrace,
like a prisoner in contracted pose of mute desperation.
Occasionally the dog – a bloated, shapeless vulgarian –
will growl at your furrowed shadow, sensing your intrusion
a fresh jilting for the groom.
You like to remember the sweetest days when you were a contender
that time you kissed the Japanese parasol with the slender bamboo spine
in the plastic bucket at the indoor aquatic centre.
Or, not so sweet, that interminable day at the office
when you stood in a schmick corporate cylinder of stainless steel, listening to
the boss’s black golfing umbrella bragging about the gnarled virility of his pure oak handle.
But what you remember most is the feeling of rain
that miraculous, ecstatic instant when you burst forth into a wet sky
your eyes closed, meditating to the music of the spheres.
But for now, you know only one thing – the eviction must come
the mornings are stillborn, the days drift, stale and companionless
every starless night you long for rain and the muscle of rapturous love,
carried in the brief reassurance of a dream.
This poem was awarded First Place (Secondary) for Poetry Object 2019
'The thing that struck me most intensely about this poem was how undeniably creative it was. There is mischief in the language, a playfulness and confidence. The use of ‘lugubrious’ (a word that you simply don’t hear enough of) and the way the poet has no problem personifying and making us believe without question that umbrellas have egos. This work is striking in every regard and smashed the brief. Object poetry taken to a whole new level. It was a clear winner. These lines had me enamoured: ‘But what you remember most is the feeling of rain / that miraculous, ecstatic instant when you burst forth into a wet sky / your eyes closed, meditating to the music of the spheres.’'
~ Emilie Zoey Baker, Judge, Poetry Object 2019