Level 4 West

by Candy M. Gourlay

This winter wind speaks of me
as though I am not here
and grey erases blue
through gaps between concrete.

Discarded shopping bag floats
toward someone asleep in newspaper
and a fluorescent sign declares
Exit West Street.

A flood of questions
I am a river going nowhere
and somewhere a tree is growing
without thinking about it.


Cracking like sheets of glass
daydreams fracture into shards
at your feet.
Squashed like an insect
beneath the boots of life
before youth had half a chance
to sprout shoots from the dirt and party
at the club down the street
where these legs once danced in hipsters
voice once sang uninhibited karaoke
lips kissed the face of joy and eyes
of green reduced suits
to clumsy hands clambering
to settle the bill or open the door.
Even leaves of summer must succumb
to blustery days of autumn
looming ominous on the other side
where age rolls and thunders
across firm skin
cunning crows' feet press
into this fresh face and wrinkles
beat to death taut flesh
at cellular level.
Like a vegetable forgotten
in the bottom drawer
beauty is slowly gnarled
by your wicked hands
by (un)natural acts of god.
All these years and it's been too long
since we laughed at the same things
since we lived the same life
breathed in the same space.
These delicate daydreams and I
are cracking like fragile sheets of glass.
Get us out. Let us out
of here.

©2002 by Candy M. Gourlay

Candy M. Gourlay was born on a windy day during autumn 1973 in South Africa, where she still works, writes and lives with her husband and three children. Her work has appeared in WideThinker, Extraverse, Beatnik Journal, Platinum Poetry, Reflections Anthology, and elsewhere. Her debut work of creative non-fiction, Story of a Girl, is scheduled for publication late 2002.

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