Her voice breaks me slowly,
and the voice behind the voice. Yesterday she spoke
of the backs of hills,
of fish spines on a cutting block,
of promises and mirrors. Fasts and bread.
Today she speaks of waves
and the way they break, over and over.
I would like to be a kissing gate, the contact
breaking time and time again
at both lips of the semi-circle.
The people pausing as they swing the hinge,
shuffle to the other side,
the dogs on leashes, or running free,
weaving through behind them.
The strong bones on their way to summits
or to tend a tumbled wall,
vaccinate a calf, rescue a stuck ewe.
And the bones behind the bones, labouring
under all the weight of yesterday, tomorrow
and the places they need to be
or are simply passing through.
(3rd prize, Wells Literature Festival Poetry Competition 2019; shortlisted, Bridport Prize 2019)
Copyright © Sharon Black 2017