This brittle November night drawn taut
with winter concussion, I scope the garden
fretful for events. Brain cradling sepals fall
low, as two eyes, hard shiny and sloe diamond
pin me to the universal, the actual, the now.
I grab your eyes – you seize mine, and sidle
into my kitchen sniffing my fare, perusing
my open notebook, marvelling at my pretensions,
curioing my sleeping children. You pad on soufflé
paws, the genetic imperative of fear and slouch
rising in the blood and then I know that you visit often
friend in the dark. O, but you are my one recurring
vision and I thought this home and land, this habitat,
was mine alone. The carelessness of the bipedal
hominid slack with casual hubris.
*Red Fox from the Irish
August- bitter morning coffee
slops over wrist, legs and toes,
at the sudden ballistic whack of
a bird on glass.
Pain elapsed and tigering to where it lies on
cool stone, I am beaten by a year-old pup
whose mouth is soft for pheasant.
She holds the thrush smoothly,
eyes me gamely, while I hush staccato
breaths. We both know the score.
Straining every muscle, I pounce,
forcing her jaw in a flick- knife
second. Warm bird, neck broken
pillows to the ground.
Speckled feathers, sweet head,
were no matches for sheet glass illusion,
the marvel of avian construct sabotaged
by its own strange delicacy.
Since I saw the girl who does not eat,
or trade in food currency, to keep the
breath even, or the gaze straight. Since
then. Since then ago to now, I cannot
bear to watch a robin hopping nervously
on skinny legs, or jaunting around the
patio, perilously balanced.
Averting my eyes from the bird, I think
of her. No part of her was right. I wondered
if when she crossed her clanking legs, she felt
her skeletal reality, but there was no room in
her for thoughts. None. Her spider web being
flushed all joy from me that day. How heavy her
head must be, I thought.
Beauty in Things Alone
After Johann C. Riedel
Eating glass, breaking it
down with mouth juice
the thinnest pieces are
hardest to manoeuvre, as
they migrate to cheek flesh
and marbled gum- the cutting
swift, deep, the between teeth
crackle pleases like no other, the
melting point – velvet
The Bone Wife
In the way- that he he arranges the chains
of lacquered wishbones across the
window, there is a deftness she idly
admires. A flick of the wrist settles
the melange into a delicate lattice
setting free the jewel colours. She
has painted each one to its contours
polishing the lacquer to a satiny
hue. Satisfied he turns to her and
they nod a complicit nod; there is
beauty in wishbones. Days later
when he is felled by a too weak and
bitter heart, she spends time with
each bone, tearing it apart. Calmly.