‘Through Carved Wooden Binoculars’ by Sarah Salway

Through Carved Wooden Binoculars

1. I want to carve you some wooden binoculars.
2. I want to sew you a suit from slivers of bark.
3. I want to run up and down your body like an ant.
4. I want to take each one of your feet and bury it in earth.
5. I want you to stand still until you feel your soles bursting as you take root.
6. I want to sleep under the canopy of your whispers.
7. I want to wake up every morning and think, why not.
8. I want to paint each of my fingernails a different colour just to make myself smile when I type out these words.
9. I want to watch my fingers making rainbows over the keyboard.
10. I want the words to keep their coloured shadows once they’re typed.
11. I want you to see how SEE ends on such a yellow burst.
12. I want orgasms wrapped in blue silk.
13. I want to untie them with gold ribbon, so so slowly.
14. I want to open several blue silk parcels every night.
15. I want to think, oh I can’t, but then I will.
16. I want to make a celebration from every day, especially this one, this day.
17. I want a day where no news media uses the words, the problem with girls.
18. I want to run my fingers through the hair of this man I see on the train.
19. I want nothing else from him, especially not conversation.
20. I want there to be a slight tangle, for my fingers to get caught, to have to pull and then set it free.
21. I want to have brushed my daughter’s hair every time she asked.
22. I want to have left my chores, my cooking, my work and picked up the brush.
23. I want to have used the silver-backed hair brush my mother inherited from her mother.
24. I want to keep my hair long, even when I’m an old lady.
25. I want my daughter to brush my hair in my hospital bed.
26. I want her to use my mother’s silver brush.
27. I want to eat a dictionary today.
28. I want to take my time, to taste the particular sharpness of P for Pain and the slipperiness of C for Circumvent.
29. I want to be able to put my hand on my leg so I can feel where Confess, Honour and Truth have got to.
30. I want Pleasure in my belly.
31. I want no words to hide in my heart.
32. I want to be wearing a sleeveless red dress on hot summer evening, I want to be luxuriating in the sensation of sun on my skin, and I want the friend I’m with to let out a gasp. I want to say, what’s the matter?
33. I want her to point to my arm, in the flesh of my upper arm, where letters are appearing.
34. I want them to be in Bookman Old Style.
35. I want my mother.
36. I want to look up into the sky for so long I start to see the stars behind the stars I normally see.
37. I want some people, the people I care about, to look at me that carefully, to see the heart behind my heart.
38. I want to smell wood burning and think this is what the cavemen would have smelt. Exactly this.
39. I want a perfect pear, sliced into four and eaten on a white plate.
40. I want to spread rose petal jam on dark rye bread.
41. I want to really believe that to be greedy is to be sexy.
42. I want people to walk into my kitchen and stand still for a moment before saying, hmmm, cinnamon and lemon and mint.
43. I want to feel my blood as it runs round my body.
44. I want to stick a label on each part of my body denoting previous owners: my mother’s index fingernail, my father’s nose, my grandfather’s feet.
45. I want my body to have doors that creak open at the stomach like an old fashioned wooden wardrobe.
46. I want to look inside and see the labels, ‘Great Grandfather’s sense of humour’, ‘Great Grandmother’s strong lungs.’
47. I want people to say, no one in her family has ever done a thing like that.
48. I want those coming after me to think, well, I can now.
49. I want all the separate parts to come together like a portrait painted with one brush stroke.
50. I want to know what I want.
(from You Do Not Need Another Self-Help Book)
Sarah Salway is a novelist, journalist and poet. Her first poetry collection was You Do Not Need Another Self-Help Book (Pindrop Press), and as Canterbury Laureate, she has been working on a literary journey of Kent through its gardens.

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