Our first Friday Poem of 2016 is from Anne-Marie Fyfe’s new collection, House of Small Absences. We hope you enjoy it, and happy New Year!
Anne-Marie Fyfe’s poems have long dwelt on the role that the spaces we inhabit, the places in which we find security, play in our lives: House of Small Absences is an observation window into strange, unsettling spaces—a deserted stage-set, our own personalised ‘museum’, a Piedmont albergo, underground cities, Midtown roof-gardens, convent orchards, houseboats, a foldaway circus, a Romanian sleeper-carriage—the familiar rendered uncanny through the distorting lenses of distance and life’s exigencies, its inevitable lettings-go…
The book opens with ‘The Red Aeroplane’ where witnessing an apparent plane crash sparks a vertiginous sequence of image and memory. We will follow the author in exploring not just specific places and memories but the ‘exponential function of tangents’, all that is implied and suggested.
The Red Aeroplane
From the oratory window I witness
mid-air doom, a slew of concentric
swirls, a trail of forge-sparks,
and that’s it. A vermilion two-seater
stagger-wing loops earthbound,
so much depending upon centrifugal
drive. Slivers of toughened glass
spangle the outer stone sill,
the vacant co-pilot seat
is plummeted deep in rosebed mulch.
I question now if the red bi-plane
ever was, the way sureties tilt
and untangle from any one freezeframe
to its sequel. Maybe I was glimpsing
that two-seater red pedal car
– injection-moulded plastic –
collected one Christmas Eve night
for a fevered child? Or conflating
the replica cherry-red sixty-three
we’d toyed with, tinkered with, briefly
on a tinsmith’s covered stall
that drenched Saturday?
What can’t be
cast in any doubt is the wreckage,
a fragmentary scattering,
the mangledness on the far side
of glass. And how a Galway blue
skyscape proves ineluctably
the exponential function of tangents.
Order Anne-Marie Fyfe’s House of Small Absences from our website.