Land bends beneath the wren.
Yellow and burnt crabs fall from hinges of dark wood,
scuttle with the wind-curve of the heath, under that wing.
A shore somewhere inland. Do you see it?
There, beyond the silt bar, banks guide the perch and graylings.
Swimming the turns and folding earth.
A small roof is an upturned hull lost among tumbling barrows.
Celandines needle the crests of that slumping shoulder.
Crooked beneath the wren.
Made hunched and crouching, by the wren.
A dart. A flutter and loud trill that knocks a hill hollow.
A cave for the fox to wait in during the downpour.
Sighs and singing. Sings the echo somewhere far in.
In the tunnels of the dampening body.
The land twists and tugs at the beak. The worm slips.
Land clicks with the pinches as leaves of the horse chestnut
claw their long distances, tide after tide after tide.
And nobody. Nobody. Nobody is watching.
The trees are down
as I write your lost face into the world;
the last window you looked from. What hook
in the sky that keeps a cloud suspended
dropped on the field and snagged your lip? Words
I have for the fir sideways on the fence
or the roof across the way, open to wind and rain,
branches creaking through the long silences of a loft.
But for you, the mile travelled from sight to mind
and out through the mouth only comes like stopping.
The air turns with leaves
and I am downstairs this last hour,
furthest room from noon gales, window still
as though nothing batters the house but you,
tea on a side table and my hand across the paper
like the shifting seconds on the mantelpiece. When
they strapped you into bed, your nightdress
half mud and rainwater, I was in
another country. Hills were unloading
a different cloud, a different woman than I am now.
The sun from nowhere,
harvest of old letters, the land, this house,
my intrinsic rampart, light trembling
in every small bulb of water on the pane. As I
finish up and lean back, such a bright shell of sun
stings the wall like an idea through a cold mind. Let's say
you go smiling. Not the thunderclap that splits
a mouth at the corners and bleeds onto your pillow,
delicate bruising at your temples, only a fingerprint or two,
as if you are held at the face until it slips away
Lia Brooks is the winner of The Straid Collection Award and a current finalist for the Aesthetica Writing Award. Her poetry has been four-times nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has appeared in Poetry London, Magma, Mslexia, The Frogmore Papers, Agenda, and Penumbra. She's been highly commended in the National Poetry Competition, Mslexia's Pamphlet and Poetry Competitions, The Frogmore, Troubadour and Cafe Writers. Brooks took part in the Places of Poetry Project for England and Wales, in partnership with the Ordnance Survey, The Poetry Society and National Poetry Day, and appeared in the Places of Poetry Anthology: Mapping the Nation in Verse.