Mike Snape – Tracing


I used to love to trace things when
I was a kid. The grey paper
stretching out, weighted at the ends,
a membranous curtain, wafer

thin and pallid above the picture,
that would flare and fade with the folds.
It was rare to really venture
much past Spitfires, if more bold

a squad of Flying Fortresses
or maybe, more reluctantly,
a dark Messerschmidt in distress…
when you speak your sad words to me

though, I wonder if I’m losing
the knack. Through a translucent veil
or irony and, half smiling,
placid self derisive tales

scrape uneasily; like footfalls
on the landing; the sudden snap
of twigs nearby; menacing hoards
of clouds…Zeppelins in attack

formation. Perceptions don’t meet
and I inspect the overlap
for mistakes, sections to complete…
maybe I’ll send the sheet to scrap

and start tracing again anew.
If only it were as easy
as to press down firm upon you
to observe your lines more clearly.


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