Four Poems

Afterings

The world turned turtle on me.
After the footnotes and the remedies,
After the mental embassies,
The missed alarms and deadline days,
The world turned turtle.

So now I wait the set of things.
After the boxing and the moving on,
After the looks of love that’s gone,
The lack of hunt to hatch a home,
So now I wait the set.

 

Late

I haven’t worked the good times yet.
The visit late when late no cigarettes.
The second kiss still drunk from one night’s debts.

Those ending weeks to sift through, not forget -
And yet, work-shy, feigned fevers and old frets.

 

Tracks

I slipped the group and down the tarmac track,
Where mountain flowers bloomed on tidy plaques:

Lady’s mantle, large-flowered leopard’s-bane,
Eyebright, broomrape, crowfoot-leaved hare’s-ear,
Twayblade and fairy foxglove, whitlow-grass,
Hawkweed, dwarf bedstraw, and forget-me-not.

That last year glancing down the mainline track,
And turning back. And mostly turning back.

 

Squares

A game of chess but not my country’s rules.
These halting friendlies tend to stalemate.
The usual Saxon gambits out of luck,
I feel for squares and how the pieces move.

For days, my stutter-play in church and square.
Each night a lingering at single moves…
Know if I blunder into false attack,
J’adoube
, my dear, j’adoube. I take it back.

 

Thomas Marks