HIS MANY MOUTHS
Monkey king stretches his four hands out to the sun
love and desire his radiant avenue.
Nothing goes through this fire
:the huge expanse, cramping his hands for the monsters.
Above, feathered clouds and angels vomit blood.
He covers his mouth. Rivers form to flood
the broken bodies.
The youngest says in my secret pretend, when I move my hand
it sparkles stairs and passages.
Clouds pull back from sky properties of air
:the nature of breath and respiration. The beast and the sun,
beside the towers, beside the well.
A bleeding vine under the flags, under the fiery rain
:king of the broken cities.
The horse that is god carries god.
A god of insects, of sepulchres, of the book.
The sky piles up where a bird of prey hangs over
the garden, over the fallen buildings.
Another city, another open-mouthed beauty
who looks into a mirror and combs her hair, tendrils
of flowers, daisies and snowdrops, lily of the valley visible
under the claws.
The youngest says
when I am deaded the whole world stops.
In their winding sheets they lie outside the city walls
they look up in wonder, in victory and adoration. Boats broken
and swamped by waves pouring from his many mouths.
Apocalypse and the arrow.
Everyone so small the sky continues under the earth.
It’s like a game she says, the wide world attached together
banging the lolly tree, to jump like a monkey.
ANGELA GARDNER’s first poetry collection Parts of Speech (UQP, 2007) won the Thomas Shapcott Arts Queensland Poetry Prize.
She is also a visual artist and edits at www.foame.org.