Katherine Stansfield


Say it with me, that Germanicky-Spanishy
word you made up to toast tea parties
with cats and eyeless dolls, to celebrate

our wins at fixed Olympics. No one
heard it but me back then, back when you
were my sleep and I your waking. Sharing

a room we shared a language. Now we live
separately, silent in our own countries.
I can’t hear your dream talk. If I phone

you assume bad news, won’t pick up.
Your tight-lipped life is yours alone.
I bring us back together for the end

and see us drop the word into the scurf
of twigs and desiccated frogs
beneath the cattle grid and leave

without a wake, having buried
our way to raise a glass, to say
farewell. But all of this is in my head,

the cattle grid now on private land,
and besides, words don’t give in,
lie down and die. When I’m faking

grown up in some swanky bar and some
joy or other requires a toast, klonjuze
is on my lips again. I shout it,

scream it, hurl it at the door –
your word my spell to bring you
here, to make you mine once more.




Katherine Stansfield’s first collection, Playing House, was published by Seren in 2014. Her poems have appeared in various publications, including as The Guardian online poem of the week. IS&T published a poem as part of the 2015 Twelve Days of Christmas feature.
http://katherinestansfield.blogspot.com/  Twitter: @K_Stansfield

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