Seeing Double

The field lies abandoned, and her face
Is fouled with fragments of a former time:
A single sole of rubber, rotted lace,
and leather upper, under streaks of grime.

My sight may skip across this vacant view,
And leave the broken boot to settle by:
It’s just another path to travel through,
Another pointless journey for my eye.

Or should the boot my inattention irk,
To tug at tufts of tales yet untold,
And chase away the unacknowledged murk,
That cloys and keeps me captive in its hold?

Both views are mine, and both are there to see
To pass or to be present, the choice remains with me.


This piece was written for Nika Harper’s Wordplay #6. The challenge was iambic verse, with the prompts “a leather boot laying by a field” and “a choice.”


She sits,
not poised at the edge of dramatic abyss,
but snuggled deep in that old couch,
her lover’s arms,
wrap around her too, in memory at least –
too many layers of dust have settled since,
and those phantom limbs
now sway unsullied by muscle cramps,
no pins-and-needles prompting new positions,
– just a glossed-over distillation of those perfect moments
that never really happened.

The couch is real, though,
its depths concealing spores of mold and more memories,
stains of several lifetimes, their passage through the flat,
loves lived, lost and longed-for,
and still the couch remains –

Or would, if not for her:
the couch, the room, the building gone.

Not to ash, as she expected,
but to a skeleton of vague proportions
Ribs and springs and incongruous tufts of stuffing
Coated in soot, no longer a couch, but still more than nothing.

Still more than her lover:
a figment only, created and destroyed
a thousand times in desperate daytime dreamings,
by the crumpled form who sits, if “sits” is fair,
still smothered by the couch, or couch remains,
still now, in every way.


This piece was written for Nika Harper’s Wordplay #2. The challenge was free-verse, with the prompts “memories” and “the reason it isn’t there.”