Each morning, before the radio snaps on
with confidence that it's alive and matters,
and the world we know has not dissolved
while we dreamed in the dark with our eyes shut,
I pop two pills from their foil jacket
gulp them, head for the kitchen where the table
was set last night as a prophylactic
against not waking. Our Oriental cat
mimics starvation. She too is relieved
to find things as they were, scentmarks the chairlegs
the cupboard doors, in case.
A used saucepan expects attention -
all these reminders of hopefulness.
I dole out Whiskas from an open pouch
divide a grapefruit, squeeze an orange.
The van parked at the back of the dentist's
across the alley waits for discarded sharps.
Next door in the chiropractor's window
a spine displays perfect lordosis
as if for a peeping-tom with a fetish for bones.
I grow used to the strangeness of things
rise in a changing body and think it
no different. There have been days
that cracked, couldn't be mended. They too started
with the bathroom visit, the kettle, a run of small
necessary acts. Will Apocalypse find me
in a dressing-gown, rubbing sleep out of my eyes?
A C Clarke is a poet living in Glasgow who has won a number of prizes over the years and been widely published in anthologies and magazines. Her fifth full collection, A Troubling Woman (Oversteps Books), came out in 2017. She was one of four joint winners in the Cinnamon Press 2017 poetry pamphlet competition with War Baby, which was published in January 2018. She has worked with the poets Maggie Rabatski and Sheila Templeton on a series of poems in Gaelic, Scots and English, her own contribution being in English. A second collection of these poems is due out in 2019.