Daniel Sluman




We don’t remember
how we came back to it
each night   the attic door
opening its corner of black
as dark as the charcoal
that surrounds the moon
that stiffened itself into the sheets     
through a curtain-less window
scuffled with leaves    we emptied
more & more wine into the nights
your son slept as the walls inched
closer    inhaled the innocent down 
on his neck   the shape of the memory 
cut with kid’s scissors     we tore off 
our sand-gritted shirts back-to-back 
in bed   we shivered under covers   
waiting for the cottage to wake itself
into whatever memory it couldn’t swallow   
this ceremony of us both tensing our nerves 
to bulb-hot glass    the slow percussion 
of horror starting to tremble & shake 
the chairs   the thick floorboards wept    
the roof dreamt   its only dream
of the weight of rain  as the noise broke
closer to split the dust at the foot of our bed
our heart-punched chests    as we held
face to face   eyes shut   & waited




The girl in the cherry dress taps the glass        
streaming her fingers over the bowl’s     
flashes of colour     like paint-tubes 
forcing    purple & yellow   
as the nurse calls the numbers 
of the waiting         who look 
at their hands   full of beautiful  
red blood         & I’m the only one 
thinking that each Barb  or  Cory
is a clot   second-scan or tumour     
God has paired us with   how 
he loves to remind us   
in the morning cough       
we catch late in our hands    
we push it to the back   
but it remains      staring 
through the brown-
flecked water    pooled 
in shadow   the ever- 
hungry   O of the Lord

DANIEL SLUMAN‘s poems have appeared in journals such as Cadaverine, Popshot, Shit Creek Review and Under the Radar. He serves on the editorial board of Fit To Work: Poets against Atos and is Creative Writing editor for the academic journal HARTS & Minds. His debut full-length collection, Absence has a weight of its own, was published in 2012, through Nine Arches Press. He tweets @danielsluman

Read more work by Daniel Sluman:

Three more poems by Daniel Sluman in B O D Y
Poem at Fit to Work: Poets Against Atos
Two poems at Wordgathering