open-armed to woollen thumps outside
we are a brocade of grimy buttons
below grinning stairs, fed on mushrooms

the klaxons were your breasts
when we lived on you, when we used to park
our bicycles against your cheeks

and your lashes, swaying hollyhocks,
dissected the scent of meadowsweet
while we discussed nuclear war;

moss spread like tablecloths
across your belly; you fastened a swan's neck
to a lily, had mirrors for ribs

but we couldn't afford the rent demanded
to live on your eyes
and dug other channels for access

we found musty apertures and cubby holes
to hide in; little drawers near your ears
(though they were full of fireworks)

we believed the war had stalled,
we'd never need refuge anyway;
so when it arrived, smoothing you to porcelain,

disputing your extreme territories,
your feet, your hands,
we shuddered your skirts into cupboards,

braced your spine across the door,
pressed black tape crosses on your lips,
crouched over muffled broadcasts in the dark:

they say you have bloody eyes now,
that your hair lies like broken spaghetti,
and shadows bury stretches of your skin

in their efforts to snuff out the sun.
but we know we won't be found -
secret, warm, inside your drifts of ash.


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