Alice, at last, Steve Parker

Wine CountryWine Country, Z.Z. Wei


Alice, at last

there’s no sense pretending it’s better than it is

lie there and die

in your last lucid moments you look around

a wild spirit horse stamps upon your chest
his huge face in slow motion coming down

your family bicker above you as you sink, rise, sink

you are a box kite made by your dancing husband
you float far above the streets
out over the valley
a mile or more
so much dead string now
reeling in radio messages
from back then, way back then
running up bombed sidestreets for milk
in 1941 Liverpool
and the ferries still running

I was a clippy
you announce
the tram-brakes shriek down the Liverpool hills
a clippy in green for the Jazz dancing
when he came back on leave from the convoys
burning the Alaskas out of his head
with wolfpack beer warm as dry blood
on the font at St John’s

the string cut, the kite falling soft
a mile away, miles away
down into the valley bottom

all your stories landing, coming home
running up Whitby Street
carrying milk through the bricks
milk that passed on through the bombs
to that day
when the kite flew over it all
dropping only itself
upon your coffin
sliding into the curtain

to the convoy fires
of the last Liverpool Atlantic

Steve Parker



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