Poem in Which an Aerialist Makes a Shopping List

the sigh of a balloon puckering up to my lips
oooooooooooobefore it drifted – string snapped,
I want it back. I want
intakes of breath I loaned flaming candles
oooooooooooon birthday cakes.
Feathers, a pleat of air over the washing line,
ooooooooooooothe map of swallows
breaking out of the eaves,
ooooooooooooooooooooodragonflies dipping
into my water glass, wasps, I crawl into the bolt
of their electric torsos stretching
into my stripey tights. Give me air, blows
I donated to an almost dead man on the street,
levelling my weight. I did not crack
a rib. Disposable tissues, rolling
oooooooooooooooooooooin the wind,
oooooocarrying my mother’s tears to the gulley,
washing each clean, the prayer to Saint Rita
she kept in her purse ripped and scattered,
by the church wall like snowflakes
oooooooooooooooooooobuilding our quietude,
magpies, deftly picking up paper pieces, adding
words to their nests. I eat birds, to keep on
reaching for a hand that has dropped me before.

Angela Readman


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