Philippa Rees

Squatter

Under the gnarled root of knuckle,
below the drooping dug; somewhere weeping
somehow smiling, the cracking heart jokes on.

It signs no undertakings; is deaf to pleas from pain.
Conscripts the clock sotto voce; occupying uninvited
the body I called home.

Foundations gape; the lung-stove chokes,
windows rheumy leak; bats hang by their toes in the belfry...
Still the squatter speaks

He whispers to the night jar, is convivial with sheets;
entertains incontinence,
shares my vintages with ghosts

Mind, outraged by loud presumption no longer can compel
this bully boy; the drumming heart
or negotiate the lease.

No coup will now dislodge him; the palsied hand refuses...
the knife just turns its cheek. No diet, ropes or baited traps
persuade the thug to budge.

Come slippery ice, oblige me; or you sharp guillotine glass?
If I could thread myself on a railway line...or fly from Bristol Bridge....
Perform passade-con-moto with a bull-bar’s screeching thud...

My steely friend, Herr Zimmer; he’s impervious, won’t help.
He’s kinder to the robin, or the carer’s mangy dog;
disregards all my inducements...

Insists he’ll work his contract out.

Philippa Rees © 2008