The Floor, by David Ross Linklater

How quickly it comes to meet you.

Words rolled out like terrible carpet 

cut with scuffs from boot heels, 

varnished once, the edges clotted with hair.

            To know the floor, its hard body.

            Seeing. Crawling along it.

The street stands on its head, sings a song

not unlike a dirge and the sea back home

fills rock pools for the billionth time.

What strange flavour on the wind

bringing news of a thousand atomic

shifts, columns giving way under

the weight of it. Great boulders

breaking loose from the hill, and the birds’

little broken wings, a dolphin wrapped

in fine blue net. One weight lifts,

the other is counterbalanced.

            To know the floor, its indifference

            quite charming, quietly moving.

A lot can end on the edge of a bed.

Then, the air mattress, the floor

with its cold shoulder, hands reaching out.

Mum, look at the shape of the place.

How could we know such things 

could become ornamental?

What bends in the landscape, 

what unanswerable questions.

           To know the floor. There never 

           was a better teacher.

Where small mercies send the eyes

running for curtain, where the heart leans

back in awe. Oh God, is this the new place?

It’s quite bright. We should paint the walls

a different colour.


Published 12th of May 2020


About David Ross Linklater

David Ross Linklater is a poet from Balintore, Easter Ross. His pamphlet Black Box is published with Speculative Books. His work has appeared in GutterGlasgow Review of Books and DMQ Review, amongst others. He lives and writes in Glasgow. Twitter: @DavidRossLinkla