Rorschach Test

The paint in the alley is newly spilt,
a white explosion on the stone.
As if cream or milk had escaped
a farmer’s roughened hand,
except its 5 litre tin stands upright,
lidless in its guilt. The bright meniscus
of the freshly minted pool lies
waiting for a careless foot.

This blot of white reverses all
those inky splats that shaken pens
in classrooms make. An inner
monster from the painted dark
stares blankly, pointless, back at me.

Later, the tin has gone, and someone’s
scraped the giant sightless eyeball
to a patch. Its sticky freshness beckons.
A man emerges from a door,
gingerly steps round. We share
the knowledge of a close escape
as drying pigments grip the stone.

No chance that it will
disappear with time. This day,
this accident that also brought
me here, will mark this path
long, long after I am gone.


Carlisle, September 2017

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