Like the stinging lash of a sermon, I penetrate domestic corners –
make a morality from a fallen receipt book.
This chalk-faced maid has stolen a thimble.
Her mistress scratches entreaties to a lover. He’s planted a seed
in the pot of her womb. All things are made of my fire.
I know every jut, sag and swell of them – how they fool themselves.
I bleach stains from their sheets, make pewter shine like gold.
What use those shutters of nailed oak? Every morning, they must push
them wide, take the flood of me into their souls.
I relish the crooked lay of those floor tiles, so black, so white
like their religion. In this thin, northern air, I must temper
my intentions. But I know how to flare a pin
at the huisvrau’s throat, bring pearls to her ears. Along the dense
tapestry that smothers her table, I seek what doesn’t show:
tender fingers, girls’ eyes burned by stitch work. Dreamy maid,
my Danae, my vessel. I snap you into shape – naer het leven –
scoop out space for your thoughts. Look carefully. I’m offering you
your face in that stained glass.
Claire Booker lives near Brighton on the south coast of England. Her poems have been set to music, filmed, displayed on Guernsey buses and Worthing Pier, published in magazines including Ambit, Magma, the Rialto and Stand. Her work has been twice nominated for Forward Best Individual Poem, and for a Pushcart. Two of her poems were performed simultaneously at six venues (in Scotland, England and Portugal) as part of The Solstice Shorts Festival. Her first collection, inspired by the South Downs National Park, is A Pocketful of Chalk and available from Arachne Press. Her pamphlets are The Bone That Sang (Indigo Dreams) and Later There Will Be Postcards (Green Bottle Press). More info at www.bookerplays.co.uk
The Ekphrastic Review
Join us on Facebook: