Poems

Hericium

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


Halves 

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 
a woman; 

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