Friday Poem – ‘From the Cockpit Window’ by Anne-Marie Fyfe


This week’s Friday Poem is ‘From the Cockpit Window’ by Anne-Marie Fyfe from her collection House of Small Absences.

This cover shows a painting of a girl carrying a dolls house, standing in the garden of big house. The text reads: House of Small Absences, Anne-Marie Fyfe

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…

From the Cockpit Window
Here, above,
cracks in the buildings are filled with battered moonlight.
– Elizabeth Bishop, The Man-Moth
The full moon is being held hostage
tonight. A two-hundred-&-seventy degree vista
and all I make out are roof-garden umbrellas,
latticed fire escapes, jungles of wisteria
straggling around water-tower struts.
Uplighters cast panther shadows
and Egyptian columns against the cloudswirl
that drapes the Chrysler pinnacle.
There’s a low-altitude nosedive, a rattle
of applause on the wing. Our world
is hurtling towards sudden resolution.
Tumbling zeros play needle roulette,
the spirit bubble’s way out of kilter.
Close enough now to smell garbage scows,
charred pretzels, onions, to hear
taxis honking, meters ticking,
the steam whoosh of airshafts.
On my tongue there’s the after-taste of metal fatigue.
Who’ll answer my entryphone? How long
before they empty the closet of shirts
and jackets, their sleeves hanging aimless.

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