March 2018

Back to Issue 3


By Jena Woodhouse

On still midwinter evenings by the river,
curlew cease their keening, fluid shadows
petrified in attitudes of vigilance,
prefiguring the rhythmic creak of rowlocks
from the farther shore – the oarsman bending
to his craft, his breath strangely inaudible;
the stars remote from souls that writhe
and grapple with their mortal clay,
as the dreaded boatman nears implacably
to claim his fee: the silver coins that seal
the vacant gaze after a life has flown;
the lozenge of gold foil placed upon lips bereft
of breath, of speech, to signify the closure
of their embassy of truth and lies;
to dignify the silence of the tongue.