The Outside of Enough

by Ray
Wild Poetry Forum
Honorable Mention, January 2017
Judged by Sara Clancy


A phrase he chanced upon in Chapter Twenty-One
of Sense and Sensibility: a contretemps
between the exemplars of refinement
and vulgarity, centring upon whether
their host’s ungovernable offspring
were indulged overmuch or just enough.

He wondered where it is, the outside of enough,
imagined a circle of evenings such as this
when the Tranquilyn has ceased its focusing effect
and the Tourettish tics grow louder and more often,
when listening skills are forgotten and she pokes
her face into a prickle of defiance.

Thinking, this is where we live, what we’ve become
familiar with, somewhere beyond lies
the abyss that’s been occasionally glimpsed,
a fear that one day we’ll wake to find
the entire household contents pinched
and zipped inside her eighty-seven bags.

And despite the study days, comprehending
her condition and a wealth of experience
looking after awkward children, he hears a voice
insisting he could change his name and vanish
if only he could manage a semblance of self-murder.
The outside of enough moves off a little further.



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