I had had
(a few too many) [a good night’s sleep],
And so, when the heavy morning light, which filtered
Like a sweet, blonde roast drip through the
Of curtain bit me vampirically,
(I could hardly find my head. A pervading)
[I met the day without the usual cloistering]
Dread-sense. I have never counted blessings.
They have felt, even before the accident,
A rug waiting to pull. A beautiful rug
And with wonderous, tall rings of pile apt
To sink weary feet into. But all’s the more
Reason not to—
(Trust the gifts that land in our paths).
[—maybe now is the time to let it go?]
(My shoes are not where I left them)
It takes me [no time to find both glossy heels].
Two circuits of my cramped studio,
(To find what was hastily kicked off).
My ire, the predictable cost of
[A sleep so deep it sets]
(Just one more Mojito).
Fire in my calves. I ease into red pleather,
(Buried under hills of skirt and pea coat).
My limp is (Much better) [unbearable]
Today. I blame the [early night] (alcohol) for
Tender, damaged muscles which
Will plague me
Until new pills are discovered.
I think of him again. The way he walked
Out when I could not.
(It still hurts) [this ache fades]
Though my train does not care.
(I am late) [I am late] again.
[I can’t afford] (I can’t afford) to
Keep (fucking up) [screwing up]
My [limp] (racing mind)
Threatens to slow me, but
I know this journey well.
(I power walk) [take a shortcut],
But nothing ever seems to
I lean against the wall and
[Massage the deep-raked] scars from
Days gone, moments I can only replay
With a detached analytic.
(Curiosity pull me back into a whirlwind
Of awful thoughts, which) hurt.
I call in [sick], (to tell my boss that)
My (fucking) train [doesn’t care that it]
Will be pulling
Into the station
Without me, and honestly,
One way or the other,
(He’s going to have to learn live with that).
[I think I can learn to live with that].
Kurt Van Ristell (he/him) is a poet, author, and artist living in South London. He works in education, in Lambeth, which is a storyteller’s boon. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Bandit Fiction, Sledgehammer Lit, Horned Things and PostScript Magazine.
Find me on twitter @secretvan