Reaching Into Boxes

Truth is a small-headed brush

It takes time
to brush the spaces,
months between my teeth.

Truth is a small-headed brush
cleaning silently
through the night.

When I was a student
I could fit everything I owned
into these little indentations.

What happened?
I am not
a proper girl.

The thing I love most,
more than my clothes,
is my decay.

* * *

I wasn’t planning on writing any poems this week. I was on vacation from poem-writing after the month-long poetry party that was April. Also, I am moving house this week and knee deep in boxes. But poems love such moments!

Late at night, having just cleaned my teeth, I felt drawn to the split page technique I used for Dream Macaroni. (One of my favourite poems from this year’s NaPoWriMo.)  I love the strange atmosphere this technique creates – surreal and yet true.

Take an A4 piece of lined paper and fold it down the middle. Write a topic heading at the top of one side of the paper and then write a contrasting topic heading at the top of the other. For each of your headings, free-write as much as you can around the topic. Now unfold your piece of paper and read across from left to right. Can you make any sense? Now write a poem in which you connect two things which might, at first glance, seem very different or not connected at all.

— Helen Mort, from Poetry and the Brain.

Source: The Poetry School

The two subjects for this poem are – not surprisingly – dental hygiene and moving house.

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