Man

by Phoebe Nicholson

The man on the back of my door
is made of four coats, a hat I don’t wear,
feetless, handless, sleeping standing up.
The man on the back of my door
is very polite and faces inwards to miss
my private faceflood on return from the pub,
or the private brainflood when we come back
together.
I think he is trying to tell me something.
He clicks and tuts when I leave the window open.

And very occasionally
a doorslam brings a brief decapitation,
and there is only a point, a crooked finger to accuse me.

The man is for now only a bundle,
and a hat I don’t wear anymore.

For now, instead, there is quiet research to be done
on your eyebrows,
on how you relate to clouds
and strange dogs,
on how you will react to my family.

I will stir my noticings into notepads,
then pour them into new textbooks
with colour photographs of the backs
of your eyeballs, the bit of your brain that
does the remembering.
I have sellotaped in a recording of the click of your synapse
when you first met my cat,
and the snap of lip-open.

I will call this book Small Love
and it will find no home under the blocky signs
in bookshops
so will creep under desks and under the arches
of strangers’ shoes

and it can nestle by my bed
so I can read it when my hair threads
and I tumble birdseed and batteries
in bowls on the kitchen table.

I will be old and I will have the book
which tells me young things about our
scrunchy hands and how I could
pluck your hairs and fingernails and keep them
as ornaments.
But how, too soon,

you sometimes resembled the man
on the back of my door.

Phoebe Nicholson is a 19 year old who grew up in a profoundly obscure village in Devon where she had little else to do but write.

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  1. #1 by Cath Barton on October 20, 2010 - 4:25 pm

    I want to read this over and over. Beautiful use of language.

  2. #2 by Leah on November 3, 2010 - 2:54 pm

    Fascinating. Keep on writing, Phoebe—want to see more.

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