The Cutting Caption
M is in her cups.
Any moment now, the kookaburra cackle
the cutting off, like a hoon driver on the highway.
But for the time being I’m holding the table, telling the tale of the silver hammer beneath the front passenger seat of my car, what happens when my girlfriend spots it.
The little group leans forward, intent.
But it reminds M of something and she’s hyper now, jumps in, raucous.
This time I’m ready for her.
I took a photo today I’d like to show you. It’s for you, I say.
You did? Really?
Yes, I say, bringing it up on the screen, passing it across to her.
It’s what you do when you cut people off, how you make them feel. It’s kind of a metaphor.
She has a close look. Ouch,, she says. Lopped?
It wasn’t an affliction
though it crippled you
just the same.
There were no calipers
for crippled speech.
You had to hobble around
as best you could
hoping no one would notice.
When things went badly
when you were teased
you put yourself into
the iron lung of shame —
& stayed for days.
*pic courtesy on Pinterest
They gave me a number to phone
And when I phoned that number —
When I eventually got through —
They gave me two more numbers
With even longer waiting times,
But they all said the same thing,
tone deaf to reason and compassion,
the Shylocks of bureaucracy.
Whichever way you turned
You got the same answer.
They had it all sewn up.
You were already in prison
Behind bars intransigent as iron.
- photo by Damir Spanic on Unsplash