Tristram Fane Saunders
The next shot is a nod to Alien,
as Michael Caine’s besnorkled diving mask
investigates a row of – are they eggs?
Under the bladderwrack, cucumberlike,
alive. Cue music. Mask, pod, mask, pod, mask.
You know the rest. His bubbles make no sound.
It’s hours before they even break the surface.
Now crossfade slowly to EXT: ELSEWHERE, where
scriptdoctor Kay sits ashenfaced behind
a softly singing Remington Remette.
Screws loose, it chimes each time she strikes the keys,
humming her name in its one cold clear note,
as clear and cold as what’s now left of Michael,
his guts and innards – all but the heart – translucent,
more jellyfish than man, the bones licked clean,
it seems, from inside their glassy, skin-thin sacklet.
Only the deep-red heart (too deep) still moves
and moves more quickly than expected. Lithe,
swift and unmoored, it tours his limbs’ canals,
looking for all the world like Kay’s first goldfish
the day her mother won it from the fair,
trussed in its plastic bag, all waterbound
and waterfilled and clear and waterweight.
Kay types the words we wait. So wait. The heart
(o soft, lethargic chestburster of love)
floats up for seven timelapsed days, shucked skin
forgotten far below. This blown rose bleeds
to white in the air, a dried-up ball of paper
tossed from Kay’s fingers as they turn to feathers.
TRISTRAM FANE SAUNDERS 27, lives in London. He has reviewed poetry for The Telegraph and Radio 4’s Front Row, and performed at Latitude Festival. His 2019 pamphlet Woodsong (Smith|Doorstop) won the New Poets Prize.