Outside at The Lamb

the table torn from you
Suddenly                 and we are close
John Ashbery, ‘Leaving the Atocha Station’

I am always at any given point in time and space aware of where you
are not. We haven’t meant to bring each other here, and still
don’t know how to do what others do, how they are
proximate and how they gesture across the table
as if throwing bread or taking off their clothes.
There are aphids attracted by the climbing plants
or yeasty glasses, by the stillness between us,
the dry earth’s anticipation of rain. You reach out
and take them from my hair – their bodies
are so translucent – look – light through an empty bottle,
a hatching egg, the sun moving behind a cloud the way
it does right now, when the question is our faces both turned
up toward the sky, and the answer is a swarm of tiny insects
coming closer, bringing uncountable small excuses for us to touch.

Martha Sprackland

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