At the manor, in the garden, I watch him practice
lifting his entire body into the air, performing
near-perfect handstands, only to fall back down
a moment later all child arms and legs.
He’s been practising for weeks now, the same
forwards motion as if falling, his hands above
his head, then the quivering: at his elbows,
his shoulders. If only he were more precise!
The brilliant all-sun weather stays the same
always. The colours in the garden are few;
much of the greenery behind him appears flat,
as if it is one pixelated wall of leaf, each square
shifting only slightly to suggest at distinction.
He says performing perfect handstands, over
and over, is a valuable skill, that everything else
he’s learned will be useless if he can’t figure out
how to keep his legs straight. So we stay here
in the garden, falling to the grass, infinitely green.
CALLAN WALDRON-HALL lives in Liverpool. His pamphlet learning to be very soft won the New Poets Prize 18/19 and is forthcoming with The Poetry Business in 2020.