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Always a girl’s name –
you knew when she was near
from the sweltering clamp of your dress
on the skin between your shoulder blades

and the thunder ants that flew in
from the thick night to thud
into the standard lamp’s hot silk shade
and fall, milling in its circle of light,

depositing their wings
in brittle scatterings
across the parquet floor.
You’d pick one up,

place its wonderment
in the palm of your hand
and run to show your parents,
and the still air would stir. Looking out

from the balcony over the harbour
and the triangled lights of ships,
the night clotting into clouds,
the thickness in your mouth,

there must have been the shock
of lighting, tickertape parades of rain,
gusts wrestling the kapok trees and
rattling the neon signs down in Wan Chai,

but what you remember most
is the lull and how your father
called you onto the balcony
and held you in his circling arms

to watch the porthole of stars
as it passed overhead,
a vast disc of stillness shared
like a held breath

before her other side hit.



Claire Cox is a poet and Poetry School student. ‘Eye’ was written on ‘Going Home / Not Going Home’ with Claire Trévien.


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Image Credits:

Image: Rubber Duck by Florentijn Hofman, Harbour City, Hong Kong

Image credit: See-ming Lee