an elegy for my father

Mouth set. So far, nought
not out, having dabbed at
the spinner who’d been giving it
some air.
Hands soft – taking the sting
out of each delivery.

Their demon quickie
is brought back into the attack.
He pounds in.
A virtuoso leave.
You judge the away
swinger to perfection.

Shadows nudge further east
across the square. Pigeons clatter
as mid-off jogs back. Thunderous
approach to the wicket. This one
you nick.
The keeper whoops and hurls the ball to the skies. You walk without waiting
for the dreaded finger.
Head-down trudge to a sealed cube with the door marked
VISITORS. Dust motes patrol heated air.

In among the grim socks, grass-stained
whites and open coffins you take in
the smell of embrocation, shake off
gloves, stoop to unbuckle your pads.

Sand Person

‘all that remains are stains in the sand’

(Sutton Hoo Information Pack)

I challenge you. I live alone
now in symbols: crossed
arrows through a crown.
Then people knew my name.
I had no sword but I led them:
in the face of other forces
I went out to do battle,
staff held high in one hand.

For days after, I swung
on gallows: pelvic girdle
skewed by the pull. Birds
of prey tucked into soft flesh:
they did for me, and some.
Now I’m a shadow curve.
Then people knew my name.
Make me out. I challenge you.

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