By Orna Ross
Nail me up, here, at dusk. Roman road crossed
with the world. Tar over mud, strata of
strangers. Horses once had to be galloped
to top this incline: Shoot Up Hill. Whips
cracked. Carriages swerved. Now, needles prick
the crook of a groin, going down.
Raise me up with all the bone-tired, the shapes
who fail to become, the unspeakable tongues,
other-coloured. Here, litter lasts, spit pools,
police can never be found when you need
them, won’t leave you alone if you don’t. Yet
song knows how to be sung. Don’t ask me how
roads cross and uncross. Centuries turn.
A dog cocks his leg. A cafe forgets
the names of the eaten, a phone-box girl
is waiting, blank as an egg. Leave me here,
away, for a while, from the bay of the faux,
the cool crystal cravers; here, with mummified
women steering children to school, with men
who stand for a day’s work. Forced from sleep,
someday they might bite the hands of those
who don’t dream. See. Compose our eyes.
Shine your moon on all glinting splinters.
Wipe the dust from the church, the tour bus,
this cup. Kiss through my mouth. Let us taste.