Strings 1

‘dreams jangling with lost connections’

March 2024

A Letter from Home

I’m writing this as the pancake batter rests, which
is as close as I get to relaxing. These days remain
a maze printed on the back of a kid’s menu, but
with no exit. I hope the sea is flashing in front
of you with people figuring out their domestic
Rubik’s cubes. I got your letter from home after
everything went wrong, as you drove through
a dull night, featureless as a broken TV. I was
so happy when you arrived at the funeral. Before
you came, my nerves were like a winter tree,
with no buds of sensation. But you came, slovenly
and beautiful. Life is hardly the gymnastics try-outs
we prepared for, right? Remaining limber is enough
for me. But I am often aching for something else.
Last night I had nothing to do so I went mad unpicking
my conclusions, but do I have enough time, at my age?
Aisha and Nia are coming to terms with their success;
that’s all I see now, but when you sit in darkness for
long enough, your eyes let in more regrettable light.
Yesterday I was chopping onions and realised that soon
everything I remember will be gone. Is this tomb music?
Everyone is removing the rainbows and teddies from
their windows; apparently, we no longer need hope.
We have arrived. I find myself staring at the roses
in bloom like they were the faces of people I once
knew, still know. You remain some happy nuisance,
a nest of swifts in my gutter. When I am alone,
you are with me. You are here, sincerely.

ALEX MACDONALD lives and works in London. He has published three poetry pamphlets: Knowing This Has Changed My Ending (Offord Road Books), Delicious All Day (Sad Press) and Ordinary Warp (Broken Sleep Books).