FINIS (published by Broken Sleep in ‘Footprints’ 2022)
moonshine in a hot november sky
pigeons shuffle to a sheltering wall
tide rises like a white-ruffed arm
anointing the land with bitter wrack
blotting all prints that came before
wiping lines and edges back to blank
there is no body to watch over us
since the milky way became unplugged
electric light forgets how to flow
voices fade and cars roll uncontrolled
books are shut once and for keeps
all the words inside close their eyes
a rain of stars flies towards tomorrow
illuminating heart’s red soil
blackbird blows reveille in night’s ear
dawn has rolled the sea away from land
hedges wave a continent of blossom
poplars rustle ballads to the light
stratospheric winds sketch paisley patterns
smacking boats through blue-dazzle deep
morning-fire ignites the world to rapture
conjured by galactic alchemy
Swimming with Octogenarians, Batten beach (published by Literature Works in Quay Voices, 2022)
We change at the sea wall. Shiver as we grope
and wriggle into costumes, flailing on one leg.
Comical in Mickey Mouse gloves, baggy flesh.
Some swimmers are deaf; I cup hands, yell against
the wind or lean close. Six feet apart is hard to do.
One recent widow (eighty-three) wants a solid arm
to lean on, wading over pebbles, bladderwrack.
We trudge in like ancient crabs, accept the pain
of entry calm, unstunned. Then feet kick free
we are seals soaring through our own domain.
Years fall away, death and shore recede.
Skin stretched salt-tight, hearts unsore,
nothing exists but body and freezing sea.
Stars of the sea (published by The Storms Journal number 2, 2023)
Vitrine flash throws shade on stars
embalmed in jars of not-the-sea.
Colours drained, all arms spread out
in frozen rays, each astral form
named in Linnean copperplate.
Necklace and Pincushion
Brittle and Ochre, Reef-stars
and Blue-stars, Icons and Bats
Giants and Indians
Fat-armed and Brittle
Floor to ceiling the constellation
blinks in low museum light.
And If I smash its glass to knives
discharge a suffocating spill
on soft flesh of rucksack crowd
will we end up preserved on shelves
exhibits from a scene of crime?