Still Life

︎︎︎ Alex Priestley

︎ MAY 20, 2022

What’s mine is yours:
a plate of fish, an orchid, a bending nude.
These are items
as on the agenda of some annual conference
and we shall wash our hands of this misunderstanding
but not turn our backs on it,
for the clouds threaten to disperse
at too decisive a gesture.

On balance, it’s not so much the likenesses
that rivet us to the spot
as the way the plumb bob swings back into the palm
and rewards our strained posture.
Ghostly thin, the depictions point to meaning
by concealing it.
For a moment we give in to their pretence:
we are totally unoccupied.

Alex Priestley
is a poet from Leeds, UK. He’s interested in things like maps, diagrams, and paintings—and the myths they help create.