Jonathan Butcher

Safety Net

Your once grateful presence, now fails miserably
to evoke those shock waves that once shattered
my spine and ankles, that left a residue like wet sand,
that would clog my arteries; slow down my tongue.

Those now defiant faces and groupings that kept
us within those spheres of false protection, that stifled
brain cells and ambition, but still offered a net of safety,
too weak to even hold one of us in place.

And our promises, that clotted over redundant scars,
are again inevitably peeled from their surface, allowing
the foundations to weep until septic; we slowly shift
from stained glasses and chipped ashtrays.

Those areas we shifted from each half decade,
leaving behind nothing but cobwebs and kicked in
doors with rusted hinges over indebted shadows;
it’s now time to let our memories release their dead.


That resurgence of blisters,
that blight what should be
the easiest of walks, their
guides highly qualified in
deception; a repeated sentence
that promised lined pockets was all
they usually needed. A regular supply
of twisted verdicts from mouths nourished
on rancid vitamins. Their joyous “collective”
like wilting fox gloves, that sip
the given poison through perished straws,
to spit back at each other like frustrated Cobras.
Their nesting season (every four years),
eyes blinkered by their own hands, now
redundant till the final box is ticked; they
see everything at once, but never at the correct time.


During that less that typical stillness,
that permeates only on this day, we drive
cramped in your van, that winter daylight
applying animation to the still trees and tower-
blocks; the fading white lines laid out across

In that park as the light dimmed, stood
intoxicated, the streets that frame this grass
square still lacking movement like before.
The sharp windows hang like antique mirrors,
begging for reflections without vanity.

At our table, diluted whiskey amongst the half
finished meals, our claws un-clipped, yet sharpened
by the surrounding faces, the first in over two hours.
The bitterness on each of our tongues now turned
sickly sweet.

The avoided families and once a year bonding
escape our laughter and chatter. Each of us dressed
accordingly, we pick up the necessities, and nurse the
remainder of this eve, without the need for prayer.

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