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April 2014, vol 10, no 1

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Claire Everett


first an arrow, then
a ricocheting bullet –
who’s side am I on?
I walk out of the dream
with my hands up

He has come. He of many voices. Not gently, like a wandering minstrel, over the hills with the sea in his hair; no, tonight he has unshackled himself from the great tree, found his feet, come haunting the rolling moors with the sole intent of fixing his one good eye on me. Listen! He speaks of lives unknown to me, lives not my own, yet lived by me; of lives, unlived, and yet – He draws me into worlds razed and rusted. Edgelands. The betwixt and between. Home to the dispossessed, rewilded by rosebay and poppy, thistle, shrew and wren.

of no fixed abode
beneath the winter stars
nail by nail
he tests the strength
of a ramshackle sky

Moved on again, he’ll have a tale or two for those who come after me, of a river, up to its gills, unhooked and thrashing over the cobbles; of oaks uprooted, of towns upturned.

even when the wind
dies down
there’s no consoling
my stillborn daughter