The Fish Man
drives a van that drags the haar with it.
He bellows in the hollow tongue of foghorns.
And he trawls the streets for buyers
for the shining haul he brings.
But every fish is round-eyed with betrayal,
and people hint at things he wants to hide.
Secrets out of sight below the counter—it's said
that there are some who've seen his scales.
At night, tail-first, he slides into the water, dives
until he finds the hanging shoals. Cool skin slips
through the silver-beaded curtains, cold hands
reach out to drown them in the air.
Even when he’s here— dry in daylight—
he can’t quite shake the sea out of his eyes.
Those who dare to meet their deep, uneasy blue
feel the pavement pitch and roll beneath their feet.
He tells me the equations only hold
and keep the plane from falling
if somebody believes
and since you can’t be sure
on any flight who does believe
it’s down to him.
I’ve never heard this Peter Pan
approach to physics and I laugh,
but later see him
pulling up on armrests, eyelids lowered
in meditation on equations read
in books. And once or twice I think
I catch him looking through the window
watching Bernoulli dance along the wing.
Note: Bernoulli's Equations can be used to calculate the lift produced by aircraft wings.
Bottle of Rain, £10 for 30ml
This is not the dead rain
lying foul in an urn and spilled
to slake the summer’s thirst
or the dark rain, howling
with ice, that batters
at the fire-bright window.
This is the rain that gives itself
to gravity, free-falling. Landing
fat cat paws on burning streets
that shiver at its touch.
This is the rain that raps a challenge
on the earth, and hangs to hear
the echo of reply. That drops
each rhythm like a gauntlet,
speeds up, laughing, through the dance:
pavane to polka to jig to reel until
there's no air, just the rain and ground
both ringing in a single rising fall.
This is the rain that draws back, spent,
and everything beneath it stunned awake.