Have You Ever Tasted Cardboard and Other Important Questions
When he lost his sense of smell, he claimed
that everything tasted of cardboard.
She wondered if he had been in the habit
of chewing cereal packets or nibbling
on playing cards and whether the plastic coating
added extra flavour.
Afterwards she thought it was a good idea
to take his empty shoes out to the snow.
Did she think she was writing similes in footprints,
mapping an outline for her surprising future?
Now her skin is petalled with dried leaves, spiders
dance a scarlet tarantella across her cheeks
and sometimes she wears slippers in the garden.
Waiting for the Ferry
Nervous of islands, he dreams of drowning
under the space the sky takes up.
He longs to be on board at night, seeing
only reflections in darkened windows –
bodies curled like snails drawn into shells
or, propped up, head-nodding,
chins clanking against breastbones.
He longs to hear the rhythm of engines,
the whispers of other passengers,
to feel the tilt of the ship in the Minch breeze.
He longs even more for mainland services,
the presence of trains, being able to walk
the slow road home, under a smaller sky.