The Cluny

Toe by Roma Havers

 mum has a toe that often dislocates, 

as she’s coming down and mis-locates a stair or two,

she’s been known to stumble slightly with her ring-finger-toe askew,

stretched slightly and upright, like it’s waking from a bad dream,

with a moment sat on the bottom step it’s plunged back until it seems

like it had never sought refuge out of its own skin.

I found her in the alley behind the fallout shelter:

I’ve seen a twisted tongue or two and hers was always helter-skelter,

and I’ll bet she melted frozen rain before it became snow.

That’s a look I’ve seen and know

in the wing mirror of a car reversing.

She had pipe dreams that were stuck in the pipe-line,

fighting signs that there were blockages in the arterial components of her blood-line.

Listen, I didn’t plan to listen to her narratives and I’m ashamed of it,

I wanted her but not all the parts

of names that lit up her insides like a heat detector,

She’s always been thermodynamic;

and I’ll pick peppercorns of the kitchen floor with her until I’m sick over her cabinets.

I’ve never met a risk taker with so many safety nets.

But listen she’s shown me her bones like playing cards,

I’ve felt along the shards of them until I think I know their pointed to suit

and I’ll always disappoint, because I think it might be moot,

she’s looted her own history, and found the root and

I’ve pulled myself from my own socket

but left no pocket map to mark the place,

I’m pock marked in ultraviolet but never left a trace.

But an epistolary note in her last text wrote


I’ve seen dislocated toes before is what I’m trying to say

and I suppose I ought to relocate the joint through traction,

or wait a while and see if it pops back through action.

See that’s the laws of attraction

Fridge Notes by Roma Havers

Suit me up like blue water,” she said

I want to heave ships and still frantic watches.”

She leaves my hands in notches,

she is curling splinters uprooted in swarms

Never let me storm away the urge to stop,” she said,

skin the husk sky with me.”

She’s why my breath doesn’t mist from me but

leaves singed ringlet kisses on glass-rims

If I must rust let it be for lust,” she said,

make copper angels with my feet.”

After the rocks recall moons and

sea rest; then I’ll confess amongst the lichens

I will be like your bare tongue,” she said,

savor the forest at your fingertips.”

I bite a thimble of rosé and whet

the whistle of her outlaw corkscrews

When we play shadows, the mist runs raw with you.”

Translation of ‘The Afternoon Sun’ (C.P. Cavafy) by Saba Sams

Big dust room, shed skin.

Emptied to be rented as an office,

with love still living in the walls.

There was a sofa here, near the door,

where we ate boxes of Turkish delight stolen

from your parents. Above, small stickers

on the light switch. Two yellow hearts.

Opposite, dark dents where the floorboards

softened to the wardrobe. I learnt to hold

you, too, in this room. In the middle the table,

where I wrote about it afterwards, and three

bean bags you found in a skip.

The bed’s gone but the window sits as it always has,

collecting dead flies in its sill, letting

goldish afternoon sun lean over half of this: half of us.

One 4 o’clock you left with the light.

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