Jo Shapcott

Of Mutability

Too many of the best cells in my body

are itching, feeling jagged, turning raw

in this spring chill. It’s two thousand and four

and I don’t know a soul who doesn’t feel small

among the numbers. Razor small.

Look down these days to see your feet

mistrust the pavement and your blood tests

turn the doctor’s expression grave.

Look up to catch eclipses, gold leaf, comets,

angels, chandeliers, out of the corner of your eye,

join them if you like, learn astrophysics, or

learn folksong, human sacrifice, mortality,

flying, fishing, sex without touching much.

Don’t trouble, though, to head anywhere but the sky.

'Of Mutability' taken from collection Of Mutability(c) Jo Shapcott and reprinted by permission of Faber and Faber Ltd

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Photo credit: Rachel Shapcott

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