by Gabriel Blackwell | August 18, 2022
Chalked up in white, his plans ran all in
Cool blueprints: our house was just too staid.
Then lines curved under my tools, sweetly
Etched into edges that became snake-like.
Right-angles baulked. We hooked fingers in
Mingling Cs and recut hard doorframes
Into shapes more sinuous. But then,
Behind smudges of my springtime paint,
I spied his jutting shoulder all at odds
With the architecture. Chiselled straight
Save the cleft impression of new arches,
Heavy with the ironing of boy into man,
His damage would have made you surge.
From double curves bleeds pure decoration,
The bones bleed rather than the flesh. Thin-lipped,
He smiled an apology and I learned
To take that curve as gospel, to spoon
His toast with jammy concentric circles for weeks.
Plaster set. The house rose in bricked borders.
My silent service hung around his dingy,
Hard plateaus, until he laughed just
Wrong and I slipped a thin knife under his
Shoulder blade. His animal yelp was sweet.
It sank to the dip of the radio, while
His body slumped through the same motions.
Skin rose hot purple. Blood spooled out lurid,
Tracing his dimples like a shroud. And then,
Flattened into a graph of a man, he became
Of use. I carved from him marble and copper,
The final touches to a house now complete.
I like it. Walk through and notice
His foot plumped as a doorstop,
His ribcage lining the cutlery drawer.
Now admire how his teeth dot the balustrade
As pearls, their lines of beauty turning endlessly. ∎
Words by Gabriel Blackwell. Art by Oliver Roberts.