I passed a boy with a cloud of smoke
where his head ought to be:
a cigarette fume Magritte.
I’ve spent half the evening not understanding
stories, instructions, extended jokes,
the other half playing
Valse des Fleurs over and over,
re-moulding my fingers
into C-string-shaped trenches.
Not that the note’s called C here,
but Do. Like the deer.
It’s not a difficult part,
but the fast sections
keep tripping me up.
I know they think I’m slow.
They kept going when we passed him,
I couldn’t ask them to wait,
but there was something worth seeing
through the mist that wouldn’t clear –
a boy, a word,
a note, a deer.
~ Helen Bowell
Helen Bowell is a poetry editor at The Cadaverine magazine, and a member of the Dead Women Poets Society team. In 2011 and 2012, she was a commended Foyle Young Poet, and as an intern at the Poetry Society helped to organise Foyle 2016. Helen is a graduate of both a Durham English Literature degree and the north-based Writing Squad.