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A Cheekbone For You... | Rico Craig

A Cheekbone For You To Climb Over

There were nights you ate grass,

just because it was cold and the taste

reminded you not to smoke;

carried tufts in your pocket to chew

as we drifted place to place in mini-cabs,

meditating against the cold. Nothing is solid,

we are as transparent as the terraces,

our boots empty; most of what we know

holds court in the first light morning tricks

over the nearest horizon. In night’s huddled afterburn

you’d be lifting green threads

from between your teeth. Blathering magnificent

secrets; you talk too fast and too Southern French

for me to believe a word. You’d fill your head

with smoke and scream,

but it sounded like — ‘If you touch my face again

I swear

when we walk down the street people

will see a chorus line.

Twenty of us kicking

in a half-moon.’ I still don’t know

what you were trying to make us understand,

if there were nights when this address

was the only thing between us

and tomorrow. I remind myself,

nobody knew enough to say it would be

okay, we were too busy building monuments

in stairwells, waiting for keys to arrive.

In my mind there’s a blue room, a table between us,

winter sun pledging through the window,

a water heater clicking in the background

and you

searching for a coat you don’t need.

Rico Craig is a teacher, writer, and award-winning poet whose work melds the narrative, lyrical and cinematic. Craig is published widely; his poetry collection BONE INK was winner of the 2017 Anne Elder Award and shortlisted for the Kenneth Slessor Poetry Prize 2018. To find recent writing visit

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