Roddy Williams – The Atheist Poet

1976 (2008)

mr goodwin said
‘homework is a self portrait’
splayed examples like magician’s cards

then conjured us home
with paint and sugar paper.
i bore them like myrrh

it may have been then
the magic quickened, conceived
the thing or maybe

when he hung them all
on an empty wall, waited
in silence, then spoke.

his words have escaped
from my head like tricksy doves
but his face is there

and i recognise
his joy, his hunger for our
naive sleight of hand

because i caught it
like a bullet in the teeth
that was there all the time.

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