Transposing generations


Marine Transgressions
Auspicum for Callum
Controlled migration
To Nausicaa

With Rachel Nisbet



Watercolour on paper

Exhibited at In the Open, ASLE-UKI 2017, Sheffield University, Sheffield

S h e  w r a p s  t r e e  r o o t s  w i t h  g o l d

for Jane by Rachel Nisbet


Guards usher a painter inside the prison

walk her through a metal detector;

her glue, sequins, glitter, chalk, and crayons

show translucent, dulled under the x-ray.

Her nude eyes and lips – no make up today,

betray nothing as a panic button

is tied around her waist. Cameras weigh

down on her; sirens hang overhead, mute.

Nine faces, pale as wood anemones,

wait to collage, to colour-in, and paint.

For one hour, they promise to be good as.

They sprinkle glitter like kids, brightening.

Lustre gleams, they illumine – if light chimed

a cathedral carillon could peel from

those eyes, luminous as luciferase

enzymes inside woodland moist jack-o’-lanterns

(light born as fungi rot dead wood, oak duff…).

After, the men speak of wishes: a flower

from a hilltop; the postcard of the alter

housed below a distant chapel spire. Yes

she’ll slip a larkspur under the x-ray

next week, its detail screened as daybreak shades,

she’ll watch a reaction glimmer in eyes

imprisoned by wooden hurt that can’t rot.