we live at home, quiet, confined, and our feelings prey upon us
says Austen

the dead are useful as paperweights

practical like a piece of soap
in a stocking
tied to a tap over a bucket
in a front garden

three pots of tea I sit here
while the cafe is selling cool and the look of the staff

the body must be heard
says Cixous

the moon is full
the pain in my uterus

she keeps pulling
her blue tailored shirt down
over her lower-back tattoo

my mother on the phone shocked she has spoken
to my dead father out  loud
suppose, for instance, that men were only
represented in literature as the lovers of woman
says Woolf

her orange-singlet breasts
rest on the laminex
she leans forward as he leans back

the glass holds water
the rotating blades of the ceiling fan
and light

A Very Easy Death, de Beauvoir says
The sight of my mother’s nakedness
had jarred me. No body existed less for me:
no one existed more.

their graves are shallow because the soil is rocky

a child of sand
the wind remembers
and blows away

a world of comfort and family
that disappears when the match goes out

part of her dress
hangs out the car door
as she drives past oblivious

cool defines itself by what it rejects, it has no substance
and the workers are pissed-off by what is required of them

Woolf would say it’s not good to work from anger or defence
so long as you write what you wish to write
she says
for another six pages while my vegetables get hot in the car

functional like a piece of soap in a stocking
tied to a tap over a bucket

my heart a paperweight
on a fiction of self-possession



From Claire Gaskin’s collection, Paperweight.