You get used to it,
the ruptured bodies
of the small and the not-so-small,
waiting to be steam-rolled
into the tarmac.
The children used to cry at the rabbits;
innards glistening, torn fur
spilling scarlet ribbons
onto adamantine grey,
but even tender hearts
to the horrors of the hedgerows.
that the fox should jar me,
so serenely intact; no visible marks,
no metal tears or twisted entrails
as if he has lain down,
in his exquisite, toffee tailcoat,
exhausted from the coop
or chasing a moonlit hare,
cleverly positioning himself
in the middle of the lane,
to avoid having the breath
and the guts tyre-squashed
out of his body, as slick blacks
pass on either side.
I drive on, the day unfolds.
I work, eat, talk,
mostly at a distance;
I am not here.
I am there, always;
on the unforgiving surface,
lying cold in the road,
burrowing my desperate need
into his unbroken fur,
what little warmth is left
from his small, ruined body.
The last time
was in the en-suite bathroom;
a wretched, accidental collision
in full view of the purple counterpane
and the torn loneliness of the antique bed.
The damp-freckled mirror bore witness
to frantic, tear-drenched kisses
as hands traced half-clothed contours
and fingers mapped crevices
that had lain untouched for months.
Fumbling in the heat of our howling,
in the suffocating sand of our gulping sobs,
we scrambled, trying desperately
to grasp the absolute death
of all that we knew.
Cradled in that granite womb;
out of the grief of our blown-glass past
and the furnace of an uncertain future
we traced the ancient shapes
of everything we were about to lose.
When it’s over
when rawthroat simmers
when jagged moon
dog rose petalfolds
when cannons quiet
arms circle soft
mercury dips cool
on tender tongues
u n r a v e l
Separating an egg is a tricky
business: cracking the shell
in just the right spot,
gently slipping the unfertilised
contents between two halves
above separate, spotless bowls.
Viscous albumen runs
reluctant from ripe vitellus,
dangling above cavernous Pyrex
while yellow orb sits bulging
in hard brown casing
waiting for the tip.
I will leave you now
in your quiet kitchen
to form your stiff, white peaks
while I turn my bowl upside down
and let the glorious saffron yolk
slide down my beaming face.
between the two.
The Pinot and their
planes knotty pine;
curled shavings of
wisping the floor.
You summon me
above a warm grain
and vanilla flickers;
a mute voice held
in a familiar gaze –
We did this
Your smooth, tanned brow
sits above my tawny eyes,
neat, flat bridged nose
flaring in the glass,
promising vitality –
longevity a myth.
I pour achievements
into paper cups, hold
them to your full lips,
sip small droplets
of triumph, while tucking
I wait, knowing that I will
watch time score lines
on parchment, scorch age
spots into soft, thin skin
and etch laughter lines around
features I had thought
beyond my grasp.
She slipped beneath me, lost it seemed, for days,
a torn and ragged wisp I failed to grasp,
that withered in the mottled mirror-gaze.
Caliginous dysfunctional malaise,
shushed-silent but for dusk’s death-rattle rasp,
she slipped beneath me, lost it seemed, for days.
Bewildered child within the laddered maze,
seduced by sorrow’s vile puissant asp
that slithered in the mottled mirror-gaze.
Entombed within the muddy-mettled greys,
enveloped by seclusion’s gutt’ral gasp,
she slipped beneath me, lost it seemed, for days.
‘Neath fractal glitter, hope returned rephrased,
deft-delicately held with hook and hasp,
soft-swithered in the mottled mirror-gaze,
her party dress – resplendent polonaise
and in her hand the proffered, beaded clasp.
Wraith-like beneath her, lost it seemed, for days;
I found myself within her mirrored gaze.
~ a polonaise is a woman’s dress with a tight bodice and an overskirt drawn back to reveal a colorful underskirt or petticoat
A year since lain in langour’s lap, cradled
in the receding arms of an Indian Summer,
incarnated in season’s departure.
Exultant, slipped deep
into the contours of a fiery landscape,
first breath of Autumn rough-brushed on lips,
blistering hips ripeplump on boughs.
Purple shadows of bruised fruit scattered
beneath October’s ochre lava,
sticky sap released to run glistening
down the deep-riven bark of parched elms.
This year only memories harvested,
faint echoes of a stillborn sadness,
stored in the larder to stave off the hunger
of Winter’s dearth.
But come Spring cold hands will plunge
into the darkness of a peaty earth,
chocolate-moist crumbly balm
to papery palms as they scrabble to plant
hope’s cherished raspberry-leaf embryos.
Nurture from the womb-like land and watch,
while succulent shoots sprout green and hungry,
reaching for the succour of a season re-birthed.
thoughts of you tread viscous water,
while broken body
lies dormant, in repair.
suspended between synapses,
waiting to be pipetted
into petri dish
and allowed to grow
waitress brings today’s special.
cinnamon shakes pungent
Tumble into orchard,
harvest apples; sliced, stewed, spiced,
preserved in jars, air-tight.
Sit quietly on the shelf,
waiting for when two spoons
can share dessert again –