I came out from my hole, from my dust pit, from the rubble and rubbish of myself, like a worm coming out of the ground. I found myself in a field. In the centre of the field was a chair and a man seated on it maintaining a constant silence. The trees were undressing with sly secret smiles.

All roads are the same road. Destinations. We set out in different directions past fallen signposts. I prefer hilltops to valleys, clear views to a dark sleep, and the birds thrown up like a cloud of fertile dust. The sky sends me baffling directives — a twisted tree on the skyline and, when I reach it, the way the sunlight grows into the bark.

Making love, my alter ego waiting behind the screen, she is a mirror of my left side. If I rub her body some breath will cloud the glass. A column, a trunk covered in bark like lizard skin, this is how she was found, escaping from the tyranny of verse.

Behind a stilled screen of eyes bodies are marching down the street, more or less upright. The countryside has to be tamed with titles.

And now the desk is cleared for breath.

John Welch


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