The Mauve Room

Broadsheet 3, Agenda Poetry, 2003


I came to your house

brick driveway full of sand

the sea a black glove that reached for the shore

seagulls hungry henchmen in the cold.

“No plants grow here”, said the glass house.


I was put in the mauve room.

black cat pinned to the wall

the roar of the planes in flight.

the sea in my ear dark as the night.

Outside the aluminium fence rattled, “it will be all right.”


You were buried up to your spine

in books that turned their back to me.

Nasty intellectuals. Well versed in long pregnant pauses

I climbed up the wall of your library, part plant, part weed.

“Love is a boring read,” said the book sleeve.


I turned the salt water pages but the words meant nothing to me.

Your grey face a fist clenched in silence

your girlfriend sharp as a rock,

my tortoiseshell heart, a leak in the lock.

“Three’s a crowd,” said the cat (and there was truth in that).


You liked to play chess. All winter,

you let the white queen chase me across the chequered kitchen floor

her spite carved into stone

her wooden mouth a closed door.

The pawn cried out, “I can’t stand anymore.”


Our story is at the bottom of the sea,

when I was little you named a sandcastle after me.

Now my words swim back to your house by the shore

the ocean is deeper than the waves on the water

I never knew we never drifted apart.