Karen Sandhu :
Third Month of the Meteorological Winter
When the missile hit I pulled the thread tight.
There were warning signs –
Tailbacks and no parking spaces.
Standing in the decompression zone of a supermarket –
Looking to vanish in amongst the toilet paper and
The Buy Now and Save Later.
Responding to the smell of the place.
A girl I knew ran past
With capabilities that could threaten the mainland
Like full-priced items and sandwich meats.
I clung to baked goods and blinked.
It was February.
I was pissed you picked February.
Because it’s the third month of the meteorological winter
Because it’s National Bird Feeding Month
Because it’s LGBT History Month
Because it’s National Foundation Month
Flag Day Month
World Marriage Month
International Mother Language Month
Super Bowl Month
Month of the Sun Month
And I’d made plans –
And now had to make all cancellations
On voicemails that kept cutting me off.
When there were no system warnings
I clung to the loose thread and rested
A loose button against fingernail.
There were tellings about aisle ten –
Potential to manipulate cravings
Power to increase original haul.
I thought if I walked backwards
Like ten aisle down –
The reverse might happen.
But there was a malfunction,
Hitting a pyramid of tea
Giving the boxes multiple holes and indentations.
Wednesday at 7: the Purification Ritual.
I thought I’d be ready
But hadn’t sewn on the loose button.
I arrived because I had to –
And I don’t know where it came from but I cried out:
Checkout lines lined with lip balm and anti-bac gel
Items of neglect
Packets of pocket tissue
And fun size stuff.
Then the data stopped abruptly
And I can’t remember how
But the thread snapped
And the people left
And the Ritual rescheduled.
Although you described it as perforated wreckage
I wasn’t really listening
Because I was looking at the fuselage.
And because of that
I was riddled with washing powder
And body buffers –
High energy objects.
So finally on that Sunday –
That Sunday I was supposed to be waving a flag
From outside my balcony
So that they could see it, and you could see it –
I continued to pass the needle and thread through the fabric and button
At least eight or ten times.
Feeling dedicated –
Dedicated to the disruption of labelled goods.
And to knotting the thread tight.
Line busters arrived on Tuesday afternoon
With the help of intelligence officials –
I spent the third month of the meteorological winter
Tracking spending decisions.
Regret leaks through the wreckage
Of discounted items.
Karen Sandhu is a poet with an interest in artists’ books. She is a graduate of Royal Holloway’s MA in Poetic Practice. Her poetry has appeared in The Archive of the Now, HOW2, BlazeVOX and Wet Ink. She has collaborated with the Fox Reading Room, ICA London and written for The Blue Notebook: Journal for Artists’ Books. She lives in London, England.