Under a net in Lapland, we listen to Erik Satie.
I like Satie, I say, and we begin listing all we know –
He only ate white things, you say.
He was mad for a trapeze artist, I say, who would only agree
to live next door. She wore fantastic hats, and kept cats.
I liked her up until the cats, you say.
I think I made the hats up, I say – but not
her commitment issues; I’m pretty sure they were real.
Under a net in a cabin in Lapland, we can’t check
what’s true and what’s fancy.
In my progressive sixth form college,
where we were encouraged
to call teachers by their first name,
Jenny, my Law teacher, once ranted
about digital watches –
how they told you the time, unlike
the wind up, ticking kind,
which required effort, and didn’t nag.
I remember this each morning,
as I slip a digital thermometer
under my analogue tongue.
Chemo with Sharapova
The woman reading Junot Diaz under the TV
has adjusted to her losses elegantly – pencilled in
eyebrows, mulberry skullcap, diverting silver jewellery.
Wimbledon hovers above her like a thought-bubble.
My daughter’s Centre Court, another woman says.
Hard to imagine clouds scooting the aperture,
the acoustic. Her husband is waiting for test results.
This could be the final, he says, munching a biscuit.
Sharapova serves; her opponent returns. I am as alert
to curves and smoothness now as a pubescent boy –
their jelly tot nipples and doll-sleek crotches;
the double bounce of a ponytail.
A nurse called Aisha tells the man he’s neutropenic;
his wife lets out a moan like Sharapova. We gasp
at the rotten call, nostalgic for recently, when we
were gloriously stupid.
Claire Collison teaches and writes in a wide range of settings. Her first novel was a finalist in the Dundee Book Prize. Her short stories have been included in Bridport; her poetry is published in Butcher’s Dog, South Bank, Yorkshire Mix, and Island Review, and was longlisted in the National Poetry Competition and shortlisted in Bridport. She came second in the inaugural Resurgence Prize. Claire is currently Artist in Residence at the Women’s Art Library.