Mercy Invincibility by Vidyan Ravinthiran
We’re playing Super Mario. This level’s
designed for one player and not two.
The quick-collapsing platforms mean one always falls.
But when he hits the spikes he starts to flash.
The plumber turns invincible as a firewalker.
A chance to extricate oneself. How often
have our lives known that brief
immunity – the crisis which emits
a stretch of ardent unreflective life?
It’s afterwards that hurts. Time salts all wounds.
You come to realise: that really happened.
But first there’s a quick flick of the stick
as you leap my glimmering sprite between the spikes
and urge me onwards through a wall of fire.
© 2018 Vidyan Ravinthiran. Mercy Invincibility was first published in the Summer 2018 issue of The Poetry Review. Vidyan Ravinthiran is the author of Grun-tu-molani, which was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection, the Seamus Heaney Centre Poetry Prize, and the 2015 Michael Murphy Memorial Prize; Elizabeth Bishop’s Prosaic, which won both the University English Prize and the Warren-Brooks Award for Outstanding Literary Criticism; and The Million-petalled Flower of Being Here, which won a Northern Writers Award as well as a Poetry Book Society Recommendation, and was shortlisted for the 2019 Forward Prize for Best Collection and the 2019 T.S. Eliot Prize.
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