A plastic Jesus is showing me
his cartoon heart.
He is crying dryly and smiling,
opening the flesh like curtains.
There are no ribs in there,
just his plump, playing-card heart
made of plastic.
It doesn’t matter to me
that it is Jesus.
It could just as well be
the woman in the park
who can’t stop running. Who runs
in a coat and cheap work shoes;
she could be opening her plastic shin
to display an injection-moulded vignette
of what it was that happened
that makes her run all the time.
Or it could be a simplified stray stood up
bearing his insides with two paws,
looking in with us at
some mess from bins
and a yellowing organ.
If it was me I would be
uncovering my throat.
It hasn’t even been niggling
but just seems
giving the impression that
in the dark moistness where words come from
something to do with
the rest of my life
might be about to begin to begin.
Graham Clifford’s book, The Hitting Game, is published by Seren, as is his prize winning pamphlet, Welcome Back to the Country. Plastic Jesus is taken from his forthcoming pamphlet, Computer Generated Crash Test Dummies, published by The Black Light Engine Room, a brave and innovative small press based in Middlesbrough. Graham is a head teacher in East London.