IN THE DISTANCE
You lent out things, you want them back,
a book or Nim matchsticks perhaps, you
won’t get them and think: I’ll let it go.
Binoculars or is it a portable
radio. What does it matter, balance
has been struck between the lent and
what the house now lacks. The lender
moves to Buenos Aires, takes the radio
and listens to the local stations, or
he might use the binoculars to look at
mountains now appearing within reach.
Suppose the book had been returned
to you, Matthew the wild cat-child*,
by A. Hamaker-Willink, ‘if only things
had stayed that way, but they did not, o
no’. Then it would not be far from you, but
you would lose the space between you and
your property. But if the silver Nim matchsticks
from the Trianon bar are coming back,
then lend them out again, elsewhere this time,
Helsinki perhaps. Do that with everything.
The glass of water far from you, forty metres,
a kilometre? The private papers,
invisible on the horizon. The brooch for
your lover, lost, in the immensity of space.
The thimble in Singapore, the comic book
that disappeared inside a mansion’s tower,
the camera you cannot find in a beach house.
This is how your belongings dwindle across
the mountains and seas, you lend, you lose,
it’s all out of reach, so you let it go. It is
already gathered round the world, why let
that passing vista shrink inside a house.