Three swans flew over this city and it did not seem strange
to stop and stare, their necks lined up with the bridge,
their heads travelling a steady line. I cannot explain what juxtaposition,
the sky’s exact colour is a mystery in recollection.
It only makes sense in relation to pauses. Three
white pauses, and a smile I might struggle to explain
but when it comes to it, enjoy.
No crackle of radio silence, or the muffled movement
of a microphone out of visual context. But I have stopped,
there is time to fix my eyes on the radio alarm, my mind empty
of relatable experience for the gaps in air, the drifting silence
after Sailing By. No drama, no pips, no nuclear explosion.
And then a chap, unhurried, a
technical glitch, a wry smile in his voice. The World Service. Sleep.
My hand on your thigh, your mother
an unfair mechanical cackle down the telephone line.
Your own voice changes into a depiction of what you’d become—
your father—if it wasn’t for nights like this: us, entwined. Me
staring at the paused screen; a woman’s breast mid-fling, her nipple blurred.