Issue 25: Dominic Leonard

A motorway is a very strong wind

We remember it differently, I know, but in my version

You couldn’t bear this green emergency for long. Ambled

Dreamlike into a painting a painting and slid back out of it

Like a wet horse, but in it no fault, either or away, no,

I know. Still life with you, away. A river can plead it can;

You lied about this too and I remember it, remember you

Going out into the empty fields. You cannot leave a place

If you know where you are going. No why, but since,

Either it. Well then. Ambled dreamlike along and out,

A blue dismantling, breaking bottles on the bedside as you

Went, the cold so sharp it felt arranged. In circles. On the hills.

I want you to feel this but know nothing, I do not want

You to know I want you to feel. To feel it. Stop. Get out. So

What. I can bear it but not for long, I do not encourage

Courage in fact it is the last thing I encourage. A broken door

Handle, the audio of the shipwreck, buried also, in that house,

A crypt with all the pleasure gouged out of it and sewn shut.

I remember it differently. So I bring it back a different way.

I remember what lies sweetly on a picture, what runs away,

What glances back. If I wait for you, I will do it out here.

Drinking this lemony backwater. I will stay in these clothes.

Plates and furniture were broken, it happened

It happened. To be believed I had to make

My days measurable, and since doubt is an

Open fling, here is what was conclusive: a man

I did not know, shaking the morning out

Like an ice-tray, that this came first, and then

The next, and then. As if the damage could be

Scraped off so easily, as if a report so crisply

Linear could be so flawed, a realisation folding

Through the blood in green sheets. The water

At that hour was not like water, the sentences

Uncertain, the beasts wild; but there, then,

In that terrible gulping cavern, I let you in

On a secret: I never believed you. And I have been

The same now for a long time. I have no love left

For secrecy, the wicked fucking work of it—

Doubt is an open fling, a wet riddle, a dark

Cloud dark cloud, happened it happened:

That fingers were crushed into wood and memory

Blocked up in my pores like cubes of salt.

That the rain is now, glass curtains of it.

Coming home late from a stoning.

Putting your coat up on the rack,

Making coffee. Closing the door.

What were you saying, something

About parallax; colours as vibrations,

As distances that collect pain, as ways

To put back together. What was taken.

Apart. Step backwards until you see it,

Until the lines join: the secret’s perilous

Sway between failure (known) and

Success (not-known but not known to

Be not-known). And, lastly, the facts:

You said you never would but you did.

You always said there wasn’t but there was.

You said you said it but you had not.

By the time I say this I will have said it.

And why would I say something twice.

If something is true how do you wash it

Away. How do you know if something

Is true until you have washed it away.

We said we said it but did we, did we.

Dominic Leonards writing can be found in Poetry London, PN Review, Pain, the TLS and elsewhere. His pamphlet, love, bring myself (Broken Sleep, 2019), was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation, and in 2019 he received an Eric Gregory Award. He lives and teaches in London.

Copyright © 2020 by Dominic Leonard, all rights reserved. This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of Copyright law. Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the notification of the journal and consent of the author.