All the parts are here
though not enough of each
to go around these men
to components. Here is an eye
and an ear with a great grey tube
that oozes mud
and mustard on the table.
A sleeve is pressed and folded
neatly where an arm should be.
Only one leg between them
their lathed and varnished limbs
like balustrades. Their shadows
are all wrong and the hat rack is empty.
Faces explode in craters
ploughed furrows of bone and skin
raw pink ground where nothing grows
between tufted scrubs of moustache.
Here are a quarter skull and jaw bone
rendered in steel, branded,
etched with the faceless outline
of a bathing beauty they’ll not meet.
Here is a peeled smile, an empty eye
shot through to darkness beyond.
News hangs in the air
ignored, irrelevant, real
as the blue paper suit, real
as the playing cards pipped
with hearts and silent bells.
Between them the discard pile.
Every card is on show
yet they play in the dark
while death glows from the gas-lamp
like a caged moon.
Abigail Flint is a researcher from Sheffield (UK). Her poems have appeared in Popshot Quarterly, Consilience, About Larkin, 192 Magazine and Route 57, and in 2019 her poem "Coasting" placed second in the East Riding Festival of Words Poetry Competition. You can find her on twitter here@constantunusual
The Ekphrastic Review
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