Dickensian Poetry: MR DICKENS’ Q & A SESSION WITH NEURODIVERSITY by Lavinia Murray

I breathe on my spectacles
I read through hugger mugger fug
I am autistic             Mr Dickens
my fingers flock through ruminative soot-strake
from a breath-blown candle

I pick the wick
to the smearing fog of an elderly Christmas Eve
to the grubby to the grubbed
to the Gabriel Grubb, sexton, lantern and spade.
He’s murdering icicles on the church lych gate
icicles: the shut-stump shadows of the spire
each one sharp as an attitude, an elbow

Grubb’s boot-print stitches the snow round Jacob Marley’s grave
tacks Little Dorrit’s Certainty of the Life to Come
Little Dorrit buried in her bonnet. Ah.
Grubb regards her soul as a Christmas Pudding
rocking in its muslin bag          wishes stirred into her
along with the silver sixpence saved from her debtor father

and Grubb, nobody and nothing are saved from his exaggeration
him morose as damp pepper, frost in sinews on his hat

the fog becomes steam built into an engine
knocking and shifting the headstones
as if they were pistons

and sometimes
a glimpse of a moon too young to travel far
a pod of white kidskin
a single crooked finger on a fallen glove

lost as the lit church windows pour their glutinous application
on the ancient yew
so its branches rise like a staircase built into a giant’s club
Oh? So nothing is as it is Mr Dickens?
nothing not one thing is left
in the solitude of the single thought           Mr Dickens?
all is one thing winking back and forth to several        Mr Dickens?
to emotion and emotion and emotion?
to Premonition’s ammunition, Intuition Mr Dickens?
Mr Dickens? Mr Dickens? Oh.
I’ll have to take your word for it.

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