from Small History



Traces


A fragile mosaic,
soft to touch.
I took my

camera into the
woods again, manifold
variations of lacunae.

Etchings of erosion,
speckled rock, a
chart of greys.

Leafy canopy, blotted
black, white, a
hierarchy of heights,

patterned light through
leaves on leaves,
dappled paper shadows.

Bird droppings, a
stain like paint,
circular, dried up, flaking.

Menagerie of littered
rock, varying sizes,
smaller shrapnel

heaped, dropped, compressed
there might have
been ash then
 
too, grey flakes,
winged curls, dark
powder snow. This

fabric light, pale
as eroded bone,
head-shaped stones

small excavations as
if someone has
been here, painting,

splattering everything in
explosions of rock
and leaf, fused

in light-sensitive silver.
Dust preserved, a
shadow of itself.

Each scribbled branch,
fossil, tiny circumference
in a palm.

Lines of my
hands, your own
marked by chronicles

our names continue
so many faults
concealed in pits.

Rocks outlive us,
composting trees folding
into damp layers

of leaf. Rusted
oil can debris,
metal welts, an

open wound corroded,
trodden on, crushed.
The peace of trees.

Hawthorn figures in
this shaded place
tumbling into dust.





Field, tree, brook

It will all be forgotten later, as everything always is in some way, when life once again assumes its own rhythm. I hold you in my hands, what is left of you now, after so long. You flow from me in uncommon ways, a figment, a vein of silver. I lower you into the water, the small brook that moves through the valley, older than all of us and bloated with memory. You slide into it, almost a glint of scales, a shimmer in the branches of the upside-down trees. The coldness cleanses, a shiver spreads up my arms. My face, reflected, my cold pressed cheeks. I will still see you in that room, that city. In every field, tree, brook. I will see you, but you slip further with the turning of each season, a shadow, still shaped like you but hollow. The resemblance is fading as I walk this land again, the place to which everything returns. Kneeling at the water's seam, I hold you in my hands as you break apart, taken by the current, coursing away in the water's foam. Desire, unbalanced, destroys itself and since I looked, I lost.





Park


I

A man sits on the bench across the grass. A leg either side of the seat, he's hunched, head between his arms.

The park at midday. People few, dotted, quiet. A van, a man collecting litter, jacketed, yellow and luminous, mechanical hand on the end of a stick.

A younger man, his son, their dog. It runs, four-legged, panting, towards the hunched over back. He raises his head. Keep your animal away from me, man.
The owner rushes over, loops a finger in its collar and pulls it away.

A small brown spider, legs in waves, crawls across shadowy white, keeps crawling back.


II

Leaves flattened in one direction, pressed against their branches by a heavy, blowing wind, filtering bright sun.

Where the old playground was, new grass slowly growing from the stretch of mud left after they tore it up. It has grown full and tall, left to recover while the grass around it is trimmed, leaving a circular patch of longer, scruffy turf and bunches of weeds, the occasional dandelion clinging to its seeds.

Lines left from a mower's tracks, staggered pylons on the opposite hillside, the park empty, distilled silence. Not a single person, no cars, the club closed, as leaves brush the seats of the football stand where couples often sit.


III

Trees in the wind, their tentacle branches undulate, swaying like fingers waving, or octopus legs, or hair. The shadow of one like the head of Medusa, huge and writhing. She vanishes when clouds shroud the sun, appears and disappears, a fragile apparition, pulsing on the ground.

Birds encircle your ears, oscillating, chiming notes from invisible heights.

The tree is old, the shadow always new and new again.





Patio Song

Stuttering bug, tiny and stop-motion, jumps across the hot bricks in the slow rolling of noon into the sleepy hours past one. I sit on the patio, sun warming my arms in their short sleeves, drawing a soft pink line at the edge of cotton, as light pools in each creased palm, pale and shadowed. My bare feet lift from the patio for a moment, cool, and settle again in the heat. The grass sings, the trees. They have been singing all day, filling the space left by the silence of our language. Soon I will begin to think in their song, begin to speak it. It is calming, full of peace and eyelashes.

It is a new song, different from the one I am used to, everything returning to you. Your dark hair against the sheets turns to soil, your body to wood, particles of dust blow from your open mouth like seeds catching the air.


     Seren Adams 2011