Text 3.

She wraps tree roots with gold
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.

Jane Le Besque