The Red Wardrobe
The red wardrobe where you shut in my sister,
the iron key sliding into your pocket.
The red wardrobe that fell on my sister,
its colour old blood and rusty oil
on the soft blue insides of her elbows, her wrists,
like the Chinese burns she gave me
as I cried and hated her, until I remembered
how she made herself small in corners,
how i thought she was a kitten crying until I shook her.
The red wardrobe, its doors opening and closing in my dream,
the warm nuts in its dust becoming mice eyes,
their long tails, scratching,
that my father splintered and burnt
the day all the women left and we had fireworks.
From The Red Wardrobe, Seren, 1998
The Witch Bag
Remember me. I am the woman
who shook her fisted nipples
at the moon,
bearing down the dark streets
that could not take her.
My face broke in two
as I ate its bright cheek,
my hands sudden as marshlight
held before me
into the dark nights that followed.
I am the woman who flew
not only in her dreams,
but remembered the spell as she woke
and hunted sighs like ticks,
dipping and turning as she went.
That woman, weightless thing,
thin as pond moss,
blacker than the pond’s black belly.
she hooks its clammy limbs around her own
and sucks the water into herself.
That woman, without a world,
who goes hopping with one boot
a bagful of grave treasures
lost and lost again –
mask of hair, milk tooth,
heel-bone, blood purse, name.
From The Witch Bag, Seren, 2002
Fox at Midnight
It is the longest night and we are out,
crossing the field from the house.
Our shadows fall through the trees like owls.
A fox slips from the wood. It has come
for the sheep lain dead for days by the well.
We stop. It is thin, its red dips
to blood red at its ribs, a vixen
in its fluid line and lightness
with cubs to feed, scurried under the earth.
She comes swiftly on and begins to dance,
throwing the sheep’s mantle
like a crown of blossom over her back,
pirouetting neatly in the last of the guts.
From Other Beasts, Seren 2008