Tethered like Gulliver.

March 16, 2007

You cannot see them-
but I am tethered like Gulliver.
For every hour that I have slept,
another tiny string-
has looped itself around
another fleshy purchase.

For every thought and breath, another hook-
has woven through my hair, they’re
like tribal braids: they’re the links
that bind me, that hold me straight
that pull me on. They’re the threads-
that stitch me up.

My eyes were first to go – they fell for love.
First as a child, they laid themselves upon
my mother, father – a small, blue
budgerigar. Later, lashes crocheted
elaborate webs- they fell like tears
across my face and joined me up to him.

Threads swam between our hips,
you couldn’t see them – they were so thin,
but firm as iron we could not move –
could always feel the pull,
the strings around the heart, taut-
and lifting through our boney bars.

You said: “I need my space”
Tugging on your line,
pulling at your collar
like a flat, white lace and I said-
“I know. I need time too” then we would
collapse in silence, two mute fools.

Later, spools undone and cut again,
more lines were knotted round my head,
my toes – the endings of my hair,
they tied me fast in different ways.
Knotted like the corners of a hanky,
I could not turn, or think ‘forget’.

They crept around my furniture:
the table from Ikea – cushions, carpet,
three-piece suite, they made a cradle of my job,
my phone, my work p.c. These tiny threads,
they wove against their weft
and tied me into loops – imprisoning

something light – with wings
and eyes and bright red beak
tapping at the tight, white corset
made of string and binding deadness-
When I am free,
I will not stand for these.

I will speak to Clotho
and stay her hands and stop her wheel
I will speak to Atropos,
I will take her cutting tools
and slice her lines,
and tethered looms.

When I am free,
I will leave an unraveling
like angel hair upon the floor,
white, blond cords,
Rapunzals hair made short
and I will fly like clouds and balloons

like kites and arrows
and birds and stones
I will just roll away-
and feel no loss
and feel no pain,
for I’ll be free.

When I am free,
When I am free.

My cords are loose-
I sometimes feel them give.

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