Having penned me as an older brother
and all that entails,
point-of-reference for their sisterhood:
a segue, a footnote, an invention
like some ghostly shadow spurring the machine,
whose engine-name launches memory
again upriver or adrift,
a stop, a tangent, or a shift
in conversation,
this is how we relate.

This is how we relate in absence
by invoking shadowsong and scattertalk:
that time, that thing, that hour when
endlessness returns again, again.

Look, how easily we revive some slumber,
and past lives whose bedrock
leases clay for song-craft,
yesterday and endless life-raft

You cling to: spin, speak, slander, sigh
some spell and I am here again
in words and bends,
stories that make amends
or cast dim light against dark glass.
Recited or revisited as phantom figure
for whichever fluttering incantation
suits mood or mould,
(or so I’m told).

Who knew you could fold
it up and call on me again
with your pencil music,
conversant magic,
fantastic images where I am rarely me?
Never exactly,
mostly impression,
only as much as the tilt of light
on the cross-hatching of imagination.

Whatever sparks that flight and
your mind sketches form and face,
remember all you really see is
outline, shade and soundless space.

– 5 October 2016