Staccato of Wings
The sky is pack ice. She is stuck in the tree’s
cleft, she cannot lift her head, supports herself
on a toppling branch, struck out on its own,
hanging over deep water, a bony, wiry thing
that stabs. Dark fuzz clouds, trailing black
creepers choke the side of the lake, trip hazards
hem her in.
Deep inside the tangled copse
are small, startled twitching things.
A sudden staccato of wings ambushes her,
something stirring, some unknown.
Everything is shot through sepia. Stained
by the stuff coming out of the trees
her clothes merge with the bark. The shadow
of the trees seeps into the water. It sours,
like cold, milky coffee. The leaves crust over
the sky, a rash of tiny scabs, damp spots in an old book.
There is a landing stage in the middle distance,
on the other side of the lake, fresh green leaves,
a house, a sheltering gable, family, laughter,
a warm hearth. From where she is sitting, she cannot see it.
Melanie Branton is a spoken word artist from North Somerset. Her published collections are Can You See Where I’m Coming From? (Burning Eye, 2018) and My Cloth-Eared Heart (Oversteps, 2017).