Fay Musselwhite


While you rake our fire’s remains, you tell me
of glazed, ruffled clowns these terraces keep
on yielding: scathed and startled, unearthed in beds
like raised dead, ashen to their grit stained faces.

Last night we burned dug-up tree stumps,
rotten wood, choked bramble, dirt-clogged rags,
leaves, brittle mats of lifeless hair-sprung root.
Then you shoved on the weather-blown shed
and its parting breaths seemed to lick the stars.

Now, as you hold up the china figure found
spread-eagled to the sky on the charred pile,
clouds bank and fill: the storm begins its slow pull in.

And when you scoop a sieve-ful to sift for metal,
clinker, bits of clown, you riddle anti-clockwise,
send a fine tornado coiling the earth back home.

Fay collaborates locally with artists in film, sound and other media. Her poetry is published in magazines and frequently performed.


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