Putting back the clocks

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Putting back the clocks

 

It catches us by surprise every time.

We never manage to be ready for it,

even though the slowly-paling days

have already shrunken down so much

they barely even fit into their boxes,

and complain fiercely to everyone

about the lack of themselves.

 

Without any clear reason or instructions,

we’ve started eating porridge again.

Taking herbal supplements. Regular showers

of leaves spray from the parade of trees

lining the wet streets uptown. Certain

bolder ones – poplars, you decide –

are the first to go fully, brazenly naked.

 

Trying to ignore the wheezy darkness,

we roam the house, digging out timepieces,

stealing hours, pushing buttons, twirling dials

on the heater controls. It all adds up

to so little. But always there will be one

we’ve missed, will discover mid-January,

clinging quietly to last year’s summer.

 

 

first published in Northampton Poetry Review, issue 2, 2018

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Drawing trees

Drawing Trees


Drawing trees

 

I thought I was doing them properly, the way

you’re supposed to, crayoning out raw shapes

that were, if not quite exactly lollipops, then

certainly something lickable, perhaps clouds

of candy floss wound onto sticks, or ice cream.

I filled them in with a pistachio green to avoid

any ambiguity, ticking in a circle of birds above,

a butterfly the size of a moose. A sun, smiling.

 

Those, she told me would lose their leaves

in the autumn, spend fingerbone winters naked

and heartless. She didn’t say why. I didn’t ask.

Hers were drilled brigades of triangles, isosceles,

getting smaller towards the top of the page

to suggest distance, within which you could

see each and every Starbucks needle, every

chocolate-coloured cone a dangling reproach.

 

first published in Peeking Cat Poetry Magazine Anthology, 2017

January

JANUARY


January

 

Scraping back the steady,

now matted, accumulation of

leaf-fall from three darkening

 

months, and surfaced today

with a softly-glazed frosting,

reveals the yellow-green

 

points of galanthus, crocus,

narcissus, in a silent, cloaked

gathering of the faithful,

 

staking their futures on a

promised spring, still more

than a moon’s cycle away.

 

first published in Blue Heron Review, issue 7, 2017

 

Pulmonaria

Pulmonaria


Pulmonaria

 

That modest shrub has come up again in the garden,

over in a damp corner by the shed. It’s the one with

the toadskin leaves shaped like tiny maps of Florida,

somewhere he’s pretty sure they never went to.

He remembers it now, but not how it got there, the shrub

that is; its name he thinks he probably never knew.

It must’ve been something his wife planted, years ago,

before the business with her knees, before those shadows

appeared that the doctor had to point out to him twice,

using the tip of his hornet-striped pencil, though she

saw them immediately, recognising them like old friends

she was meeting from a train just pulled into a station

on a warm afternoon, whose faces hadn’t changed a bit.

 

 

first published in Whale Road Review, issue 6, spring 2017