Between Orion and the Plough
a blink of wing-lights. We
watch our shadow tip
across the moon. In valleys
unwanted light puddles, spreads.
On Stanage Edge the breeze
is fluid as family, the glittered sky
brittle as dried teasels.
Air traffic control is humming,
sketching new constellations.
We forget the names of stars.
• This poem first appeared in The Open Mouse
After vespers I sneak into church
to pin advertisements to notice boards.
I gaffer-tape them to lamp posts,
stick them onto office windows: Lost –
please give this name a home. It coat-tails me,
makes puppy eyes when I’m in conversation,
asks to play fetch, wags its tail at strangers;
snarls at me at night, growling for meat.
On the phone its form will twist and spin
muddling vowels and consonants.
It wriggles free of unsuspecting tongues
but always turns to call me to account.
It’s squatted in my home for decades,
leaping out on me when late from work;
hangs around the kitchen when I cook. It even
lurks inside my bed, elbows my sleep.
Sometimes it sits as a therapist might,
showing me pictures: she in a floral sundress,
smiling at no-one, he clutching the railings
of a bridge – as if that were explanation.
I’ve come to learn it only wants my company,
though it has a way of hovering uninvited
and can’t be trusted with the whisky.
Only yesterday I swore it was a burglar.