you worked at to fund your grant
I combed your hair towards my ribs
the opposite way to where you were going
You spoke of Akil—he who uses reason
a new star pinned to your lapel
the red diyas do little to mask
the blaze I’ve seen before
When you stepped off the runway
you could have been anybody
Some hours later it’s the first time words
sound like hiccups.
He tells me the down draught wrenched
your weekend rucksack from his arms
& I picture that ochre imperfect
corona meant for him on a china cup
© Natalia Spencer 23.03.2016
Cover Image Rights Sean Gallup/Getty
Tomorrow the day when florists deliver bouquets
yours absent of lilies your mother’s flower
She the determined woman who parcelled
a three pound child in brown paper & was gone
before end of your first year
Your father never bought a headstone & I often
wonder why stiff blooms have power to poison
family after pollen falls They blamed you
rather than focus on real cause or accept
just how much you were wanted
Years on I meet a woman with those same dark eyes
fierce & wild as you are. The photograph of her
in her new mother’s arms mirrors that sepia shot
Ann out on the back step sleeves rolled up like a mother
who salvages a birdcage from a charred room
& I cannot bring myself to order flowers
which eventually droop & lick silent walls
Because in your last age of breath & spit
all the gentle words I must say should be seen
not gushed as panaceas across a writer’s desk
©Natalia Spencer 2016
Cover image ©Marie Elkins 2012
skin porous & florid ooze
the not quite
citrus or physical
as if she is
made of snowflakes different
minute by minute
slowly melting into soft vapour
dark & wide enough
for a man to drown in liquid tension
Her pupils suggest I should fill her
with Verpa lingam lap rocket
the subtle prefer to call
played by fingers & thumb
& she is
soles flat to my nape; worth
every second of delayed fall
compelled to spawn & after
milk white pearls
as essence on rippled sheets
© Talia Hardy 2016
You reach in to lace edged surf,
snatch his crescent moon from her crib.
The water is too warm. Is there a pulse?
As if to offer milk you hold him close.
Shrieks attract more of your species who snap sacred flesh
reflecting a million gold and silver scales.
Such curious smiles you bait ball his body.
When the last air left froth corrupted lungs
No one heard his mother’s cries. Still you hug
that strong urge to capture an all-important picture.
Yes that one—long beak to human nose.
The one you delete after he is dumped
like a plastic toy in the footprint
you leave behind for Argentine waves to collect.
© Natalia Spencer. 2016
Tired of chalk faces & clay women who disowned self
decades ago, I grasp time as you tease
dormant geraniums back to life.
Each year your garden takes on more colour—mostly reds
while you grow more silver than woodland mist.
So often I see the girl melted into glass.
She’s there when she flamencos in her tulip skirt, slim calves
synchronised to earth rhythms.
I saw her the day she stepped out on rhinestone heels
to collect her degree. Strange flower
forgive the habitual hellos & goodbyes.
I’m a simple man made mutant.
Landslip & drugs have that effect— and we,
we often hang ourselves over brooks, rebirth
from misshapen clouds. Strange flower
if your belly sags you are not a balloon
drifted along my skyline to be popped
in preference for longer legs.
You are helium, my Dead Sea parted
a Sitar I’ll never pluck again.
©Natalia Spencer 2016