If when we die, the soul attaches itself to something half-alive,
mine will settle for forest rot,
drip its thousand spines to a pale spill.
Woodland does not pause at loss,
it lives through its buried —
another hounded fox, the wrong red.
Somewhere, a horse chestnut’s falling pulse
and in the damp, stars yawn into autumn.
Everything and nothing in this wood.
When I become impossibly light, appear as wax,
let foragers steal my ghost-meat home,
prepare a meal of it, slow as winter.
from Rootstalk (first published in The Rialto)
Two women sit for breakfast
comfortably quiet. Between them,
something will move; steam from the oats,
or light, painting a bowl of plums.
Whatever was promised last night can wait
until the table’s clear
of honey-licked spoons.
There are so many ways to be gentle.
Outside, the morning turns to its clouds,
but for them, the hour threads itself golden.
Let them sit a while longer;
there are always oranges to peel.
I’d like to know how many years we’ll have.
first published in fourteen poems
When the sea had me by the waist,
I cupped my hands between my legs
and pushed out my daughter.
She could not know then, as I licked
the caul from her scalp, that men
would rate her as rare leather,
boats sag their bellies of netting
for skin which might sieve
the way her father had angled me
from my pod, turned me out of fur
to boast a girl.
I carried my child as a stone,
could never have seen us now,
mother and pup, the two halves
of a mussel shell, dipping
the shy grey of our backs
under foam and back into rumour.
first published in Ambit