From The Salt Harvest


Take the orange meat into your muscled spaces.

Five years they filtered sewage on Morecambe flats,

nestled as dense as teeth against strong tidal scrapes,

counting the oilspills, until Yu Hui slapped his plank

and bore them up by griddle and craam in the early stars,

Yu Hui who ended in sand as wind blasted North off the map,

stilling the tubes of his cochleae cordis. Tear them apart,

boiled in cream and crushed with garlic on your sideplate,

alive oh, to feed the crusted bivalves of your heart.

Heraclites Bathes at Kivu

Charlotte lost her glasses, skinny dipping; so he duckdives through the water,

scraping trails through leaves and lakemud, then surfacing to bare his palms,

near where she stands, blinking, from the pier. The world just cups this calm,

but aches to mesh the whole reflected heavens with raindrops cast like gravel

to soak the linked canoes, or shift the gas that cramps its molten bowels,

huge methane clouds that boil from silence to sink the boats and skin and crows.

This lake has swallowed everything at some point. Her words are swallowed,

they couldn’t be that far out, as he upends himself out past the marker bottles;

his gaze is gulped down in the deepening blues. But as the evening settles,

he’ll take the shore and towel off, and watch the air chill in the rain.

Tomorrow, or when she’s dead, there may be time to trawl the lake again,

but he’ll not find her glasses. Children may limp from Goma with new sandals,

the lake bed will hide beneath great balls of frozen magma, and spectacles

such as these get trapped forever as fossils, despite the feeder rivers.

From The Dance of Ararat

The Dance of Ararat

After W C Williams

If my wife is snoring as softly as a musk-ox,

the child purring in the cot, and a distant hum

declares the taxis and rain have nearly stopped

and my empties are strewn like a planetarium

in the aquatic light of my screensaver, as I rise

and feel the deck shift under the living room

but catch myself in an arabesque, and the line

of muscle in my forearm seems a thing of glory

and behold, my hard calves, buttocks and thighs

and sense the thousands in the darkness, more,

a disco of silent limbs around me and each one

heaving their breaths, ecstatic, owning the floor

then who is to say I am less than Noah, captain

waiting for the tide to breach against the top

of Ararat, one hand steady on the klaxon?

The Frog Prince

There is nothing that can be done in this green world

about a boy with the stench of pond-water in his burps

creaking to your daughter's en-suite while she sleeps

where he stumbles upon a leak in his jellied sheathe

and his eyes bulge like spawn dilating in the mirror

envisioning a foam of his own generational matter

stewing inside her as tadpoles stew in shallow water,

and the world darkens as he struggles to remember

a story about a pond so green it was almost brown,

and how the fern-tips rattled as a frog pushed down

past their pale roots, reaching the pond's rank bottom

where a golden ball blazed a nova in the pond-scum

and it thunders outside, and a sudden thump of green

webs the skylight in fractures, reddening at the seams

as beyond the curtains the suburbs bathe in a holy rain,

frogs splattering on jeeps and birdbaths in boned stains

as the middle classes stare across their bloodied patios,

and you skid off the tarmac, trapped inside your Volvo

and on the bonnet, a lone frog is bellowing, unharmed

in a world cart-wheeling with wild dogs and car alarms

and your daughter raises her head to ask what is amiss

and the boy croaks, halfway between a ribbet and a kiss.