You form from residue
falling from the underground’s ceiling, not dripping
but descending in long, filthy tendrils,
and in the margins of my vision
you’re a television channel scrambled:
colours bleeding into each other,
elastic flesh pulled over itself
to defy its own dimensions.
When you yawn like a vacuum inhaling,
pulling wisps of fibre off my sweater,
I finally have to turn. We shake hands, business-like,
and I behold your face, which is marked
with nicks like those on a cutting board:
short rifts gashed on your chin,
over the steeple of your nose.
You compliment my toque,
and I say I like your hair.
You reach towards your head, harvesting loose
a tuft to hand to me. Two brown-black
striped spiders explore barren
lumps of your scalp. As you turn to throw
a used blotting paper away,
I spot the columns of your stilettos
that’ve been worn away
by miles of concrete and coarse salt.
When the train pulls to the edge of the platform,
the doors won’t open for us, so we have to make small-talk
until even the microbeads in your facewash
have been purged from the rivers, the oceans.
I’ve got to know why you’re sick, I plead.
I’ll measure your plastic content in ppb.
But plastic has no taste, you reply,
and I know you taste me every time you plug
your private usb into your computer.