by Mark Leech
[ poetry - november 12 ]
It was three days before the festival
when we came to the village. Knives
were already in the fruit. The pavements
crackled like sand, or the bitterest snow.
We stayed, but the celebrations went on
invisibly: conversations with our lovers
appearing as shadows on the blind. We drank.
Of course we drank - in windows looking
down on the sea, the bar staff pretty
but distant, all nods and smartphones
in the shadows. In every fruit a long knife.
Juice prinked the air as far as the beach
where white clumps of weed seemed to write letters
home. In dreams they lay on the kitchen table.
I knew even then the village would keep me,
my departure knifed in a layby,
or a cafť whose cups were scuffed with thumbprints.
And you and the rain moved on for the spring. Conception
The map of where we were is not
to be opened. Only, the road was
empty; hedges buzzed. It will not be found
on any casual tour. We were melting
and a yellowhammer sang striated
hunger. Donít look for a ruined church wall
or a battlefield from some intestine war,
but greylag geese on the river, and swifts
still clinging on. Our legs idled. Water
flared in the sun. We donít know the place,
only that in that summer, there, we were.