Perhaps to someone this is home


They move away from the structured chaos,
the conversations tangled in chart music,
those small collisions of lives.
She smokes in the beer garden and the night
is a long progression of clouds,
hunched and tight as fists,
without a breeze to break them.
She tells him she used to carry a compass
so she’d know the exact direction home,
but poles shift and all worlds change
and the compass wouldn’t settle,
pivoting in slow circuits beneath the glass
like something caged. He imagines home
being the far north, the top of the world,
oil rigs buoyed on the vast light-scarred sea,
the streets smeared with skin on skin
of black ice, cold, impassable, giving nothing back.
The night tears open. Above them, a constellation
they can’t name, spattered grains
that don’t suggest a shape.
He watches the cigarette shiver
like a needle in her hand;
the compass moves,
resumes its frenzied ticking.



Jacob Silkstone