Jazmine Linklater

Jazmine Linklater

In a storeroom full of dead things, I systematically arrange forgetting  

Go back to the beginning he said, palette knife in hand
but the beginning was already something else  
looking not like the river, but like myth – 
a mangrove swamp full of ghosts. Another tradition, a bit  

And what else should I be? 
What else should I write. I don’t have the patience  
but in six months it will be a different picture 
– therefore not a monument.  
I am weary of this. 
I’m weary of the chemical baths with their cathodes  
and anodes, all this copper and lead 
like the river needing salt 

Is it that use of one-point perspective suggests an authoritarian persuasion? 

Now some sort of seismic event during which I admit 
I have strayed. I have taken you for a ride 
and left you waiting in the car while I played 
with detritus. Its subject matter nothing more than an excuse. 
Cud chewing murky leaves for inheritance  

If it all becomes beauty? That’s a curse.  
Constructing redemptive sense from the cypress tree’s root ball 

Out in the traffic black cars and blue cars go by like the surface of the river. 
The copper turns green at first like contaminated exit signs  
and brackish water neither here nor  

What actually happened to you?  
What are you willing to remember –  

Walk out. Walk in the headlights. Walk in the daylight  
To the west to the west  
Where the long road goes is the problem  

Oil paint smell so thick it snags in one direction only –  
Lead into gold or matter into spirit, kind of  
The river filing into a pool from which he urges you to drink. 
A starting point for something new 
Then the unwinding of it all  

JAZMINE LINKLATER is a poet and writer based in Manchester where she works for Carcanet Press and edits Corridor8. Figure a Motion (Guillemot Press, 2020) is her most recent poetry pamphlet.