Thriller Suite: New Poems

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Thriller Suite

Margaret Atwood

1.

Newsstands blow up

for no reason. Bookstores as well.

You're clamped to a windowsill

gibbering with adrenaline

as the light-beam swings past you.

Holy hell, you whisper.

Now, that's finally meaningful.

2.

The woman you were certain loved you

did not. Never did.

A puckered heart she had,

testicle on a plate

three days cold.

She used to cut your grapefruit for you,

have a Scotch waiting,

knives and poisons on her mind.

Now she's got sunglasses.

Who seduced her?

3.

Those girls manacled to the wall --

you laughed at them in old movies.

They used to wear torn jumpsuits.

You thought they were a prop.

But now they're everywhere,

naked from the waist down,

pink, black, bruise purple.

4.

Too many cars ruined,

festooned with red and grey.

Vein glue, brain jelly

all over the upholstery.

They'll never get the smell out,

whoever cleans up afterwards.

It's an art.

Nobody sees that part.

5.

That older man in the suit,

the one with the briefcase,

the sneering one, with the shaved head --

you've seen him before.

Your stern, mean father

come back from the dead,

his neck a snarl of sutures.

He says I told you not to.

How waterproof are you?

6.

Everything's suddenly clearer,

though also more obscure.

You don't have to love anyone.

That eon's over.

But how free you feel,

how buoyant, as you're floating

from rooftop to rooftop,

leaking time from your many punctures

as the Glocks tick and tock.

7.

Behind you there's howling.

Ahead, an unturned corner.

There's fur on your nape. There's fear.

Wake up! Wake up!

In all these dreams, you're falling.

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