Of course you chose the imperfect.
Of course the imperfect you thought
Blame it on the moon. Blame it on
hot sun in old mountains making silver run loose
liquid from the earth, metal blood.
Blame it on silver entirely.
You understand tarnish, you always have,
the way you understood the hope of silver posts
forced through your earlobes, two
ambitious moons, rife with infection.
New moon brightening and tarnishing,
an extended breath.
Can a tarnished bullet still defeat
the creatures of the night?
You, imperfect creature, your frailty
swelling and ebbing and swelling again —
Fear of artefacts
These days, I worry about offending the furniture.
I want to apologise to the overstuffed chair whose arms are only
reaching for company.
The rickety heater smells like toast, my tea like a house on fire.
The velociraptor on the ledge bares a ravenous jaw while the terra-
cotta warrior crosses hands over armour, back straight, placid for a
fight in the afterlife.
These days, every thought seems a fossil, surfacing from unfamiliar
land, teasing with history. It leads a life apart and I can only observe,
fugitive to my own mind.
Outside, gas lamps sway in the gales. Birds scarcely bother with their
I can’t bear the news.
Michelle Penn’s debut pamphlet, Self-portrait as a diviner, failing (2018), won the Paper Swans Prize. Her book-length poem, Paper Crusade, will be published by Arachne Press (UK) in 2022. Michelle plans innovative poetry/art/music events as part of Corrupted Poetry. She’s also a member of Malika’s Poetry Kitchen. michellepennwriter.com