love / same old sex my pretty elbow

my bones press too hard at joints and wear through fibres

till even my pretty elbow peeps out where it rubs at threads

snuggled like capillaries, snapping and fraying — a pretty elbow pokes

out of the muscle of our entangled lives the evening you stand behind me

close enough to breathe on my neck and see the pale, exposed bone

send a shiver down my arm — you tuck your finger into the hole

and stroke my pretty elbow to let it know you know — in the morning

I choose a patch — I’ve kept our old shirts and jeans, scraps

I cut a circle of shell brown and with pricks of pink, stitch down a pattern

like cats tongues, overlapping the loving that mends us

From With Love, (Live Canon, 2020) first published by I'll Show You Mine Journal after being shortlisted by Andrew McMillan

She Finds It Difficult To Pray

wordsmith from drystones

do you miss the fulmar shriek

hail-ice at sea

the limpet stack?

you’re on the fen now

call out loud

call full-throated

we need a miracle

we need to heal

our planet would a-wounding-go

the people are a-weeping

& drought is coming

women are closing up like bivalves

women are clustering their babies

how did you pray up the storm?

horses & armour chasing you down the estuary

foam & force & wicked fear

you prayed in a cave

more of a lowly scrape in the dunes

cut off on the spit

how did you pray up that storm?

if wanting is enough

I’ll be the wilked wave & bruise the sky as I toss up

the enclosures

of the sisters of the wives of the mothers of the muses of

whatever they’re calling us

I want to be a wilked wave

wash away every address in a skeet sea

reeve the land

until Ely floats again &

in Cambridge rowers will scull dons to a new shore

far above the bridge of sighs &

I will swim down

into the library of climatology

where octopus computers are tethered


their one bewildered eye

after all, they knew —

water is the story

no matter the Mars men

let them rocket & waste up the speckled sky


flanked by the bright shells of astronauts

tell me

if we could humble ourselves

flatten our bodies out

on the fen

like water does

what prayer is there now

that could lift up the ground on one side & pool us

& quickly

Published in EcoTheo Review, Summer 2020