by Helen Mort


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