Dead Wood

This is a dead wood its colour ash
We walk through it holding conversation like
There the dust of a passing car brings travellers
Who disembark, the woman takes our photo and
amazes her men
With her ability to take pictures and charm us
with her smile
The girls hide their cigarettes.

We can be reserved and hilarious together.
We can sing or laugh or weep, standing in the dead
wood or sitting
In the room where tears arrive unannounced,
Only the one who sheds them
Arms around her like a forest of sheltering shadows
The murmur of leaves against her wet cheeks.

The next morning she wakes into herself and says
To the field where the fog hangs and three cows
gently low:
Here I am, ready to be made over in some material
other than flesh.
Ready to see not the shifting silence but the
speaking glance.
Ready to laugh with not at.
Here I am, a line of clothes hung out to dry in
yesterday’s dead wood
Small, intimate, necessary
And the wood suddenly alive, and beautiful

is a poet, novelist and translator. Her nine published books include three poetry collections—Absent Muses, The Fried Frog and Sight May Strike You Blind; and two novels—Rupture and Land of the Well. Her translation of Sukumar Ray’s Abol Tabol is now a Puffin Classic titled Wordygurdyboom! Her poetry has been translated into German, Swiss-German, Irish, Scots, Welsh,French, Tamil, Manipuri and Bambaiyya; and her children’s fiction into Welshand Icelandic.

Be first to comment