Tomb

Ghosts dressed
For the occasion.

Curly hair,
Tattoo there.

Rocking for comfort,
Not disimilar

To Ceaușescu’s
Distressed empire.

Bare cots,
Blue shoe,

Throw me in
But I come back up.

Throw me, throw me up.
You can demolish a wall

But you cannot wipe
The graffiti off.

Padlock Lake

I’ve fed dead fish
At Padlock Lake,
Five miles above
An old sluice gate.

Over yon way,
Beyond game-sedge,
A calf eats hay
At Ghost Farm’s edge,

I knew, like you,
From early ages
Through hardship and harm,
Through old Autumn breezes

Cold as a fist,
This inability to wish,
We dreamt of byres and
Troughs instead.

We pass by a polite
Chinese scientist
With one arm
And owls woven

On grey lapels.
Yon farmer exists
In a caravan balancing
Precariously

On rusting teeth.
Brambles and briar
Nettles and dock,
A solitary robin,

Red from the cross,
Her songs could span
An albatross, in flight,
Over oceans of moss.

Years later
I found a certain haven,
Pulling those fish ribs
From a peaty bog,

Not far from where
They found a body within
A concrete outflow pipe,
Naked, leaking, exposed.

Sometimes even gods
Of parks and lakes
Make human-seeming
Basic mistakes.

Serialised

Where do they go to?
Those endless rows
Who once sat, bless,
Pleased as punch
And bright as a bunch
Of tulips essential
To our well-dressed
Red-shoed universe.
They sang a hymn,
They learned a word,
Only ten or twenty years
Ahead to be interred
In brambles and roses
For the wrongs
Of a man, or men,
Or whoever we failed
In our future roles
To only once deter.