ALL THE INVISIBLES
BEST AFTER FROST
Mysterious how the medlar ripens,
softens, rots like Camembert – inexorable
in its breakdown, this progress into mould.
A smutty fruit: Shakespearian – seaside picture-
postcard rude, designed to raise a belly
laugh with hints of bums and holes.
Blettir – the term for overripe, for this slimy
slurpy process – such an atmospheric word, so
French this aromatic feel of rainfall in Montmartre.
Rain and footfall; blood-red light: A tale where rain
was far-off drumming; louder, thundering, tumbril
wheels; a ripe and rotten group ...
or not of blood but garnet-red: a medlar jelly
sweet for Spring’s return. So suck this flesh and luscious
rot: Best after frost, they say.
They say he lacks parental care.
He wonders if that means the day his mother shoved him
in the dustbin, kept him there with bricks
to stop the lid ...
A dark and raven world
with holes no sweets can fill.
He knows a rock upon the moors
that legend says was once a Troll.
He likes this stunted, Nordic creature,
gives it names and tells it jokes, sits down
beside its stony base to nurse
his welts and plot
more stealing, shelters
from the rain.
He has a penknife which he hones
upon this troll to make
the blade as sharp
as every curse.
GLANCING AT LABELS
she sings the tune in a different key
and the rhythm is faster and quite
upbeat but the lyric’s not new and
the theme’s the same and it’s
always that guy from an earlier
song who mattered and meant
a lot to her then though her life’s
moved on and he is not in it and love
is a plaque high up on a wall that
tells how a person once living is
dead but the bricks exist and his
name’s on a blue and white plate
so she scrapes some memories out
of the rubble as if they were trinkets
lost in the blitz and scribbles a phrase
of heartache and rain as pub
walls heave with calls for more
bitter and she winds good strings
on her old guitar though no one
will listen and glances at labels
on bottles of beer like hop
garden gold and fiddler’s elbow
spitfire and end of the world
Poems for the Road
by Nnorom Azuonye
Editors: Unoma Azuah, Amanda Sington-Williams, Nnorom Azuonye.