Sil­ver Birches

The London Magazine - - MICHAEL SPINKS -

Brit­tle trees Stand so close, Heads lean in to touch and talk,

Whis­per­ing mer­ci­less ru­mours, Slen­der and fair, Stroking their sil­vered trunks.

The black host be­tween, Hostages gripped In se­cret, cramp­ing cells.

Trail­ing steel of death, This man haunts him­self, Trans­par­ent as scum wa­ter.

Stand back, no touch, Derst even look. His shade Kills in­stantly each glid­ing pass.

He had de­scended The per­ilous steps Into the deeper world of loss,

The slid­ing pass­ways Lined with screams, The 72 hand-fin­gered sig­ils.

Across the un­flat­ter­ing wa­ter, Oars dip­ping in the sea; ‘Would you like the ra­dio on?’

The shore a con­stant

Run­ning mad ero­sion, The shift­ing slit of death.

Led to her side. Was that a touch, A blaze, a blaze of ice.

To taste again The odour of your skin, Or catch soft breath.

Cut, cut, cut, cut. It is the cry­ing Hurts the most.

An­other voice Sings out Along the buried vaults.

Blind­fold ripped away, De­spair sees off, The fig­ure fades.

No turn­ing more. Song and blood. The scenery of death is vast.

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