I left my name at the wood's edge
and entered its tree-green shade a stranger to myself.
I found a clearing, a quiet space
and in this peaceful glade
bound together branches with vines.
I sit beneath this weave of hazel and breath.
Behind my eyes I find my heart - a bruised apple.
I hold it gently in my mind.
Occasionally a black dog rises up and barks a memory at me.
I play fetch with the ruined fruit.
Always the beast gives chase and always brings back
not the over-ripe taste of rot
but a cracked, white eggshell.
I place this empty casing in the cradle of my ribs.
And here, almost imperceptibly, it pulses and throbs
pulses and throbs.
and we talk
about this and that
and the future
lost in our worries
we spot two magpies
we are trying not to be
from our hilltop
we notice shafts
of golden sunlight
radiating towards the sea
we are drawn
to a fluttering
in the hedgerow
we look down
and see a thrush
we stop and ponder
what to do
a bird with a
is a sad thing
it is scared
so are we
we do nothing
and move on
My mouth was a painted grimace
on a straw-filled potato sack.
I could not speak lips or tongue.
My words came from scraps
and wasteland –
rats’ feet over broken glass
Dust blew into my cracked
eyes. I could not cry.
Sometimes I sagged on this pole, like
A stilled flag. I was a wind-beggar.
I could hold up my bag-head if I chose
but usually I stared down at my scuffed shoes –
One brown, one black, no laces,
pegged in place by bulldog clips, they
hang from my trousers – like suicides.
Empty glove hands flap no fingers.
What wouldn’t I have given for a bone or
a blackened tooth?
Now my intestines itch madly, were I human
a tapeworm would be less irritating.
It’s all kept inside with strong twine and
A belt buckle.
These days - I wish I’d tear open. Let
the crows peck me slack, become
Six weeks ago,
after I was given my reason,
they nailed me up here,
two sticks crossed and tied,
broken broom handles.
That’s the biggest joke of all.
Before, when I was an earwig’s nest,
these thoughts did not exist.
Now I know what I am –
I’m a sham.
A pest controller, a bird scarer,
A dead man’s Sunday best.
And I’m useless at it –
This is my last day on field duty.
They’ve been building it for a week –
Paper, twigs, unwanted furniture
logs. Everything chopped and stacked
piled up like a witch’s hat.
It’s all been dried out and dowsed in
Sacrifice is too strong a word for it,
I’m a device.
Up there’s a chair with three legs.
The coronation throne where later
I’ll receive my cardboard crown.
From tortured fool to murdered king
in a flash.
Oh how my new brains will burn.