Two Poems – Geraldine Clarkson

the unlived

multitudes in days to come may walk through them
                                                           – W.S. Merwin,
The Unwritten

inside this girl
curl thoughts that have never been born
never been called
never been sung

they’re shaking

half-doped in there
roped against the wall
not believing
they exist

and they won’t come out
not for love nor politeness
though fear
might twist those thoughts into braids a girl could clutch
to save herself
from falling

what script can it be
that she didn’t learn
or find in time
or dare to follow

would she recognise it
now and call out the real names
of everything

could be
there’s only one thought
all she needs
here in this girl

every girl in the world
like this

Mannequin, with the melancholy gaze—

you sit by my bed, a solicitous mother.
Though you never look at me
directly, I always wake to your pale blue
eyes, raking the air just above my head

your pearl-peach complexion
pinking with concern for me
your elegant neck tilted slightly
aside, to catch the doctor’s footfall

  on the stair.
                                I will try to get better, Mannequin.
I will try to deserve your flawless love
the riot of worries rolled beneath
your smooth chignon

tumultuous anxieties bleeding
into your printed silks
gorgeous with grief, which you control

Photo by JShaw

Geraldine Clarkson @GBClarkson lives, works and locks down in the UK. She is enjoying catching up on all the poetry, visual art and music she’s been missing over the years, and has had poems published in a wide range of journals, newspapers and anthologies, as well as four chapbooks (one forthcoming from VervePoetryPress, Crucifox) and a full-length collection from @NineArchesPress, Monica’s Overcoat of Flesh.  

Banner: mINUET, A VISPO by Robert Frede Kenter (c) 2021.

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