Under his old hand the diamonds fizz and coruscate, infinite riches touched by passing skin.

The hand is mayflies and daddy longlegs, the diamonds retain their cool and pointless integrity forever | Sometimes, though, a stranger may pour a few sensations over them, so they | leap to a scent of seawater, are flushed with the nostalgia of childhood beaches, the taste / of hot sand.

How lovely, the migration of his touch across these calm and lucid stones, the snow | pocked with steaming balls of dung, reindeer in their urgent herds, or / glimpsed from a nondescript sidestreet / the unheard wingbeats of geese travelling at altitude across a city near dusk.

An immortal silence grounds the diamonds, but the movement of his hand | brings the crackle of flames and a woodfire snap to their edges, tempting them to warm themselves and even to sing.

Inert and radiant, the diamonds await our darkness and our pelting heat | our sparkling storms of instants / our fuzz and scrape of pentagrams and Keats and curled pieces of dried orange peel | our confusion, a true story.

In a flat in Battersea, the diamonds stay | His hands are long gone, but once they let the diamonds hear – if only for a moment – the whorling lisp of far-off waves, and feel | how his heart pounded as he ran along the shore / his eyes half closed and the sea / a shaking firmament of dazzle: how he was | chasing stillness.


from the series hypergrammar (open-ended, 2012–present)

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