The woman who sleeps all day
makes origami birds
out of toffee wrappers.
Her neighbour's zimmer
kicks its rubber hooves, dreaming
of gentle jockeys with white hair.
My ears, powerful as whelks,
practise listening moistly,
like a slug, trailing silver.
I cool the air in the tomb
of my lips with glyphs of gold,
mistrals whispering at the doors,
windows hooked with flamingo beaks.
A yellow dog sits at my side,
drinking all my sins. We are twins,
nameless, faithful, Siamese.
Night surrenders into day
with the charm of real birds
in an imaginary garden,
fine as the cracks in my bones.
Hot flanks twitching, my bed hacks
towards dawn. The starched sheets
stripe me sore in the saddle.
The nurses' shoes sing me
a lullaby in morse;
hands stroke me like owls, dapple
me like mares, fluff my pillows
into the bellies of bears.
All night long I lie there
waiting for my hair to turn white.