Susan Utting Susan Utting 



I'm building a box: not quick-assembled
with an Allen key and diagram, not pine
or MDF or even beech veneer, this one
is patina’d and grained in walnut,
dovetailed, countersunk and bevelled,
heavy-lidded, hinged with solid brass.

It’s big: just big enough to hold
New York, a pilgrimage to Northern Spain,
a framed collage of cheapday travel cards
to castles; and a house with elbow-room
for two, sky windows and the sound
of Chinese wind chimes telling tales.

The picture of a person lying
at a crossroads will fit in beside
the sound his body made as it hit metal
and the way it trembled, bled along
with all the promises the morning
had just made about its afternoon.

The lid and body marry perfectly,
a soft click as the catch slips
into place - no need for chains
or padlocks; tap its sides and listen,
clench your fist and knock to hear
its low-pitched, empty echo.

from Houses Without Walls (Two Rivers Press)

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