A mounted woodland, baring tiny teeth in fury. Fox and pine-
marten. Waxy badger. A stag, all posture and buff chest, antlers
hung with mourning-jet and glass. Aisles of dulled skates,
and typewriters. A case of Roman coins rubbed smooth of emperors.
I see you stop at a box of arrowheads, fill your hands, and pour.
I get lost in the writing desk – its ink-well, black as tar; its polished top.
We both like the flank of rusting signs along the brick: The Swan Inn;
The Queen’s Head; The Pickled Egg. The chess-set struck
from ivory and gold leaf. We’ve lost an hour, two. We know
the local pub runs out of beef on Sunday afternoons. Still we loiter.
To lift a quill and write our names on air. To rest a palm on a gargoyle
chipped from its clutch on the church roof; rain-gentled, rare.
Cheryl Pearson lives in Manchester. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in publications including The Guardian, Southword, Poetry NorthWest, and Frontier. She was Highly Commended in the Costa Short Story Awards 2017, and has twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her first poetry collection, “Oysterlight”, is available now.
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