Scott Nicolay & Lesley Wheeler


Twice a year the tumblers align, the carriage
chiming out the end of a line; worlds ride an
axe-edge, double-bladed, the green man laughing,
brain packed with snow or lavender. Twice a day her
pharmacy convenes on the counter like some kind of
sunset-tinted Stonehenge, each cumbersome canister
            balanced in reverie;
this the playing field where dull plodding heroes
meet their Watergate, skip to her loo, try with
tangled feet to tease out the steps of tunes that
           only she can hear,
struggle to herd her wayward Wiltshire lambs
past the megaliths into their paddocks. Wildness can
show in verdant coiffure, but some neat girls are
          hairy on the inside,
backwards, inverted, all their sugars rotated,
something sinister in the mix. Still brave men
flock like flies, and Stonehenge shrinks, dwindles down till
            dwarfs kick it over,
cackling demoniacally. Watch their mouths, how laughter
wreathes from them like pipe smoke, how it exfoliates.
Jack Green’s supposed to lead the May Queen, who hates to
    follow directions,
wanders instead through an old nine men’s morris,
minotaur in her own maze. Tonight she’ll have
knight for dinner, chopped into steak, Salisbury,
           plain: greens for garnish,
yum.  Those fourteen Theban virgins never
tasted as good.  Any woman with an appetite
is a monster, after all, and this one
          swings both ways, drugged and
heavy dugged, the Lilith of Willendorf. Her
back-swing brings her back pain, her fore-swing drags her
forwards, onto our hero’s bed. He’s merry,
            smothered in goddess,
drunk with myth, belittled, bewildered and bluestoned.
“Hon, you wish you were as Neolithic as I am,”
taunts the Avon lady til Robin Hood cries,
    “Uncle, oh uncle.”
At the third uncle, she, already sky-clad,
strips off Robin's skin, hands it to her priest: there.
Tammuz, Dumuzi, Fuzzy-Wuzzy: bare. Now
        be a good fellow,
trot off and fetch me a cuppa, white. I have
shopping to do. Inanna, unable to see her
feet, her string bag empty, heads underground, Tube-
        bound. It's ages since
exodus, since she’s been back in the bush. Long
in the tooth now, bottom and top, she can still
snip a king cigar-tip neat. This is being,
    what is is, what love
feeds her, she devours. As she strides through darkness,
ready to rise at some hinge, some fork, she thinks: if I
must be a type, I’ll be blackletter, hieroglyphic,
    closure’s antidote.