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From Room of Thieves, Salt Publishing, 2013


Island we could not land on. Island that would wreck us
if we tried, far down the loch past the glamorous
shadow of Black Crag.

No kinship betrayed with the other island gangs:
their spillage formations, their bays loose and soft as inner arms,
their sand as pale.

Distilled, pure island, dense and domed as a plug of moss

kicked from a giant’s wall. About it, black rocks

rose in a ring

at a sliver of beach, the earth’s petrified viscera, its broken folds.

I longed to scramble over them, cut my bare soles

and lose my clothes to them.

Brinacory, the other islands would never have known to be jealous

while, with our boat in broken bark pieces

on your barricade, 

we tacked between your besom-close trees, weaving their loom

with our feral bodies, on all fours, eyes wide in the gloom,

growing large as goose eggs.

As we pass I keep you to the grey edge of sight. If these oars

lift now, they will never stroke again; your shores

look almost possible to me.


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