A Crow That Became A Line

It’s supposed to be a book, a story, but I wish I could start with
a poem instead, there’s something about leaving things half

said, something about a handful of metaphors and line breaks,
that wear their brevity proudly, there aren’t that many words

in the beginning anyway, just an uncertain awkwardness that
stumbles over ellipses, saying little, saying a little. A verse about

a day that wasn’t supposed to be, but was, about a time that
wasn’t meant to mean anything, but did, about the big things

unremembered, about tiny details that stay in the empty frame
like disconnected dots. There was a crow outside the window that

day, watching, as birds aren’t expected to, but do, like a sadness,
an inadvertent new moon, a crow that became a line in the sky,

in the beginning anyway when there were no words. With a poem, I
can stop here. You never speak. The poem becomes the whole story.


Toril Fisher Fine Art


For the ekphrastic prompt at Real Toads. Also for Poets United Pantry.

Ritual of Departure

I walk this dying year slowly down to the edge. You laugh, tell
me I am holding his shrivelled arm too tight, he totters now, his

voice feeble, not that he has anything left to say. I wait for him
to crumble to ashes so I can hand him back to ocean that birthed

him, how many times have we done this here, how many times
have we stood at this door, me empty hearted, this silent Bay

of Bengal, waiting in seeming nonchalance, wave after wave,
counting down the seconds. Remember the time he was broken

before the winter solstice, I brought him in pieces, in black plastic
bags, parts missing, and once, long ago, when I did not want to

let him go- all that crusted angst has turned blue wine to salt, yet
this sea burns the fire of a new day in her belly, our ancient ritual

of departure coloured with the blood of arrival. I turn back,
cleansed, eviscerated, clutching the arm of the wind, already

filling with fragments of sunshine and sand. You laugh, tell me
I am holding on too tight, even hollowness has to let go, to fly.

Spent Decembers

This faux winter chill, a shiver sliding down its grey back, like a
metal zipper slowly unveiling the twilight hush – the long evenings

come early now, the heat of sour whiskey breath against covered
necks as the pale sun slips away, shamed into the restless clouds

and memories lie untouched on the plate before us, like kebabs on
a skewer, still bubbling from the tumult of the clay oven, meat and

vegetables, spices awakening days that were months, that are
moments – you take another swig from your glass, dulling the

edges of the past, softer now, see how easily we cling to things
without harsh edges. What really happened that day, you want

to ask, when the cold crept in through unheated concrete walls
and straddled the bed, eager, un-anointed, time running its warped

fingers over a rosary of spent Decembers, the wool rough against
eager, bare thighs, January always a roll, a fever, a chant away.



This sort-of-end-of-the-year-end-of-something poem was published yesterday on Life in 10 Minutes. Seasons greetings to you all, may 2018 bring us joy and peace.

Calling it Dawn

shame breeds virulent
in the unctuous air, heavy,
a metallic bitterness at the back of the mouth,
as if something is giving way,
as if something is being pulled apart,
as if the vapid smiles of bystanders
have come unstuck
and filled the sky, covering the stars,
as if light is being reeled in
by a heavy sigh,
as if we lie bare with an uncertain moon
making distant love,
and talking afterwards,
changing the names of things,
twisting ends and beginning,
turning happy inside out to cry,
sweaty hands of the night
leaving wet prints on words
that remain in the corners,
stubbornly trapped between fingers, under nails,
later, scrubbing the shame
off the sky,
pointing to the last of the light
caught in the treetops,
laughing, calling it dawn.

The Seduction of Dawn

the seduction of dawn
is that she is the beginning,
the harlot of infinite possibilities,
her hennaed fingers
inching forward slowly,
I close my eyes,
night’s hand is still warm
across my insomniac fears,
what was it
that damned moon
was warning me about?

Quadrille: a 44 word poem
Linked to the Dverse Poets (Prompt: Dawn)