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who am i?

by aoife mannix

I am snowflakes on a green pram,
a train journey into the forest
to find the only priest willing,
a New Year's Eve party gone wrong,
a forbidden cupboard, all the pots and pans of my frozen fingers.
Pulling, tugging, dreaming,
my thumb in my mouth, chewing my hair,
a green pinafore covered with pelicans,
a battered rocking horse, a Swedish god fallen to the floor.
Smiling at the talcum powder bottle, ignoring my mother,
forgetting how to put one step in front of the other,
failing to recognise my own father.
A joke made of glass, eavesdropping on jungles,
playing in the china tea boxes, lighting fires in wooden sheds.
Blackberry picking, hiding out in the neighbour's boat,
scooting down forbidden lanes, making maps of the car numbers,
being a soldier, a sailor, an intergalactic spy.
Shooting my guns, sharpening my shoes,
I race through silence.
All the foreign words falling from a book,
I eat my strawberry anger, carefully folding my goodbyes,
one more paper aeroplane crashing into my heart,
and the teacher telling me there's no point in my name
cos I'll be gone so soon.
An irrelevance, a fading space,
I learn to unpeel my labels, spell my own colours,
shout through the glass door, play tricks with my shadow.
I don't fit in this box,
my shoulders too small, too thin, too strange.
I paint myself with all these countries,
fall in love to my own tune, spin the question around.
I am a thousand million billion moments falling like rain,
and who are you?


copyright © 2003, aoife mannix



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