To Tell the Truth:




This poem was originally published in The Interpreter’s House 62


I only love your hands.

I saw them draw a country once.

I did not know its name.


It answered to a stroke you made,

its cross-hatched counties silver-grey.

I packed my bags and moved right in,


whilst you stayed behind to flood it with colour –

painting ochre-lilac sunsets over dark clouds,

inking its borders around me tight and safe,


drawing, reinforcing, our perfect house.

But it was lonely without you.


Each day I’d lay, wishing the loneliness away

on lush fresh grass painful as razor blades.

Each gentle breeze cruel as a hurricane,

rushing through the questions in my heart.


But one night you stepped from fate’s last train,

hair windswept, paint-streaked Mac torn open.

Eyes wild with the work of getting home.

Your hands were warmer, though, and certain.


Merrie Joy Williams