Navigations

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.

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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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