Struck

by Helen Mort


Struck

The leaves aren’t lit, but morning’s struck a match

so I can see a path through Linacre - low gold

that spreads across the grates of reservoirs

 

and stokes the trees, long after an electric summer

and its short-fuse sky. September, sparking

on the ground so nobody can step into these woods

 

and not be burned. A woman calling for her dog

goes smouldering to moss. A cyclist

becomes a Catherine Wheel. I run

 

and feel my body catch, my face a taper,

shoulders taking light, my ribcage flammable.

I shed the new ash of my collarbones and spine

 

until I’m cinder, smoke, or left with all the parts

last winter made - the soft snow of my shoulders,

wrists and throat and when I try to hold

 

my voice I find it’s thawed, a river,

all the names I ever knew

afloat.