the crucified statue
grows more bruises
dies more daily

through the slit of his heart
flames of blood
through the chink of his skull
real thorns real hair

shadows of candlelight
flick open his lips
the longer I pray
he seems to say

why are the hunters homeless
in the stealth and stalk
of the forest in the cluck-cluck
of rain? why do they hide

from the natter of snow
then entertain woodcutters
with the manners of axes
the moods of chainsaws?

he turns towards his mother
Our Lady of Ransom
Star of the Sea
they're trying to put
a price on a tree




sick of field fairies burning his turf wall
dad built one around himself

in his passport he’s veiled
by a halo of curls

it was the 60’s
whenever footage of the Irish troubles
came on the news dad left the room

rumours from his village followed him
across the Pacific
          shot in the leg kicking a ball
          hidden in barns attics chimneys
          an incident at a railway station

perhaps that was why he needed elbow room
          to fish in a river all night
          to pray in an empty church
          to stare at the sky

when he woke from a stroke
all his words          jumped ship
except who

he went from a man who read dictionaries
like novels to a man fluttering between worlds

after the funeral a stranger rang to say
dad had been on his watch list





an elm pushed by an angry wind
falls like scaffolding around the church

the trunk wide as a crow’s yawn


as the boy’s yawn who smokes
saws a branch smokes saws a branch

takes a break stares at the trunk
where it fell where it stays


where gracious tides of bells
scatter darkness from Percy's pale coffin


carried with every respect over the trunk
where now two fox cubs live



[Kerrin P. Sharpe has published four collections of poetry: three days in a wishing well (2012); there's a medical name for this (2014); rabbit rabbit (2015) and louder 2018. Her poems have been published in a wide range of journals in New Zealand and internationally, including Best NZ Poems, Oxford Poets 13 (Carcanet Press UK) Poetry (USA). ]

Copyright © 2019 by Kerrin P. Sharpe, all rights reserved. This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of Copyright law. Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the notification of the journal and consent of the author.