You thought you could ride a bicycle
but, turns out, those weren’t bikes
they were extremely bony horses. And that wasn’t
a meal you cooked, that was a microwaved
hockey puck. And that wasn’t a book that was
a taco stuffed with daisies. What if
you thought you could tie your laces?
But all this time you were just wrapping
a whole roll of sellotape round your shoe and
hoping for the best? And that piece of paper
you thought was your tax return?
A crayon drawing of a cat. And your best friend
is actually a scarecrow you stole from a field
and carted away in a wheelbarrow.
Your mobile phone is a strip of bark
with numbers scratched into it.
Thousands of people have had to replace
their doors, at much expense, after you
battered theirs to bits with a hammer
believing that was the correct way
to enter a room. You’ve been pouring pints
over your head. Playing card games with a pack
of stones. Everyone’s been so confused
by you: opening a bottle of wine with a cutlass,
lying on the floor of buses, talking to
babies in a terrifyingly loud voice.
All the while nodding to yourself like
‘Yeah, this is how it’s done.’
Planting daffodils in a bucket of milk.

From The Air Year. Shortlisted for Forward Prize for Best Collection 2020. Reproduced with kind permission from Carcanet.

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