by Mat Joiner

	For Sonya Taaffe

The dog at her side is less familiar than excuse
to trace the towpath-glyphs, scry canals.
Avid as Dee with obsidian, she hooks Time up
from slow silt-drifts and shattered suns.
The dance of midges describes angels' arcs;
in the spill of oil an alchemist's peacock
spreads his tail: pollution, possibility.
Each bridge is a shell, cupping voices:
herons, geese and shallows-baffled sirens.
Ear to stone, inhaling moss-damp like incense,
she strains for all soundings, shapes her lips
the better to fit words of water, runes of brick:
to call back and snare the green-headed girl
who stole her reflection for skin. Barge-bedded,
she dreams of letters in bottles, invitations to drownings,
a tryst where the cuts run as deep as skies:
a weed-snagged kiss and a final flood, wondering
what lore or wonder will be released when
her breath bursts silver in the forgotten air.


Mathew Joiner lives near Birmingham, England. His fiction and poetry have appeared in Never Again, Not One Of Us, Goblin Fruit, and Strange Horizons.

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