Phil Vernon





Select your glue with care
as most are designed for smooth
or porous surfaces – not both

brush clear of debris
then dab with alcohol
rehearse the join – and breathe

the contours
where the break occurred
must match

press firmly – tentatively rotate
till both sides fit as they did before
with a silent click

and breathe – now practise again
for you will not have a second
second chance

should you misjudge
the union will be
not as good as new

so breathe
unscrew the cap
imagine every step ahead

then pierce the seal with a pin
apply the swelling glue
and breathe

wipe clean the tip – replace the cap
and set aside the tube and pin
you should not need them again

can you feel your breathing?
spread the adhesive evenly
with an unspent match

position both parts so you’ll be
almost sure to grasp them right
can you feel your breathing now?

next you must wait
until it is almost
dry to the touch

so sit, and notice your breath’s caress
assess the glue with a fingertip
and test again

and now
while breathing quietly out
suspend your disbelief

take both in your hands – rotate
attempt the angles again – again
and breathe

in one swift movement press and hold
until your fingertips turn white
and breathe

a final check – the angle’s right?
wipe swollen beads from the join
the hairline disappears

set down the delicate whole
and breathe
and wait

and learn
while breathing
if the join will take.





Phil Vernon has lived in Kent since 2004, after twenty years living in various countries in Africa. He started writing poetry again in 2012 after a twenty-year break. Whereas in the past his poems were mostly written in free verse, he now embraces more formal forms, and finds his words and ideas thus surprise him more often. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Other Poetry, Ink Sweat & Tears, Acumen, Anima, Elbow Room, Gold Dust, Pennine Platform, Crannóg, Poetry Salzburg Review, Out of Place and The Poetry Shed, and he has been shortlisted and commended in several poetry competitions. Some of his poems are on his website:

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