by Christopher Barnes

She buffs my ligaments with colour-cast
nudged from the knotholes of sponge
now that the last-minute mock-up has gone to a T.
She blah-blahs, voices consonants with suburban whines,
while I play flow-of-ideas with my praxis.
One of eight Chinese sailors, I jig solemnly,
mimic the hornpipe, trembling a junk-hooey plait
from a coolie chaff hat.
I’d always been a high-kick boy, slyboots on my feet
and even if Aladdin was throwaway and rum,
tryouts were sedimenting
now that blizzards had nights wound-up, no more
rollerskates, hula-hoops, or the spasmodic bounce
of pogo-sticks.
A clag of rouge, swig of splay-bottomed pants,
duffed feet on oily boards,
and as the bungled music floats
she says in a blue-pencil drawl,
‘are you the only girl sailor?’


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