Leaving Amsterdam

Claudia Daventry

Showers in the Kilbrannon Sound, Michael Russell
To break away is relative.
I packed the rugs, the bed – and then
I threw the bedroom in.
I pushed in the wormy boards and beams
that have seen 400 years: the horses first,
with steaming flanks and rolling eyes
brought in unshackled from their shafts.
I packed the hay
the dust of hay
I packed the groom, the stable boy
the bridles and the bits.
I packed the puritan who beat his wife
behind closed doors.
I packed the doors
and, with them, the scream
she let out as he kicked her down
the steep black stairs.
I packed his kick.
I packed six Jews from beneath the floors;
pale as onion shoots, and thin
as gruel. Packed their dim
lamp, its paraffin
and seven Nazis thumping up the steep black stairs
to drag them out.
I packed the guns.
The Kerkstraat came up easily
once I’d loosed the cobbles from their bed
and rolled up the street, like liquorice.
The houses came, stretching soft as caramel
as I gently tugged them from their roots
which, after all,
are only clutching at water.