Emily

by Lorelei Bacht

He mocks me meek. I write in the margin
of books, a fish unhooked, glistening
on photographic plates, thick white 
collars and plaids, they call 
me close, me sick, me rose, me not 
much to look at, if you should ask – 
They do all the talking. How easy to 
slide out of your own prescribed skin,
abandon kith and kin to the mediocrity
of everyday gospel, of politics, of pots 
and pans, of kitchen sink gossip. No-one 
has noticed my absence so far. 
I sit at Sunday roast, I sit at tin biscuits,
I sit and observe those who talk, talk, 
talk – I make a note: an idiosyncrasy, 
a brick to build, an anecdote. Mostly,
I calculate fingers – they believe me
pious, limpid, not knowing the story
of why these white hands carefully 
folded like handkerchiefs. Once, they 
were damselflies – and I had ambitions,
a mouth for rhetoric, a morning walk 
around the hill – the sky a sudden slit, 
demanding I witness, but not forgive.