From Pigeon Songs
Ice Bear Dreams
She is a cub again on the long swim south
treading in the dark wake of her mother.
Stars rain down, hissing out in the seawater.
Unending rutting. His claws pinch her,
so parched she jaws the powdery drift,
and watches steam plume from her lips.
Her footing slips at the foot of the cliff
She tumbles skywards past the rank nests
of kittiwakes and the screeching auklets.
Inside each beached whale there is a pit
where the bodies of her long-dead cubs
live peering between the blubbery ribs.
Her paws shrink to a seal’s black nubs.
She breathes water and is untouchable.
Bears lumber after her in the blue chill.
Bawling toothlessly she watches her kill
stripped by foxes down to the bare bones,
but cannot lift her paws up from the snow.
Horking beached blubber down her throat,
she hears the whale’s lungs. It’s soft breath
is indistinguishable from her mother’s breath.
The ice is gone. The males have stayed south
to sweat and brawl on the drylands forever,
and left her to mewl cubless on the gravel.
The moon burns the blizzard at eyelevel,
until the snow leaves her and the moon alone.
It’s skin is as warm as a teat against her nose.
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.