The day connives and you think you cannot live here,
in your body, alone and rushing forward all the time
like a silty river. All you wanted was to find a home
beside the souls of white roses and hurt no one
but the light keeps shifting. An invisible broom
keeps flicking you out from cover. You roll up
at each destination with someone else’s face, as wrong
as the beech tree in Preston Park hung with trainers,
its museum of tongues. The day connives, but this dirt
is proof of trying. The chalk path you never longed for
zigzags through bluebells no one asked to throng.
In the park, a robin has built its nest inside a Reebok,
the shoe’s throat packed with moss and a crooked
whisper of grass that says I can, I can, I can.
John McCulloughJohn McCullough's first collection of poems, The Frost Fairs (Salt, 2011) won the Polari First Book Prize and was a Book of the Year for The Independent and a summer read in The Observer. His most recent collection, Spacecraft (Penned in the Margins, 2016) was named one of The Guardian's Best Books for Summer and a Book of the Year for the London Review bookshop. It was shortlisted for the Ledbury-Forte prize for second collections of poetry. John lives in Hove with his partner and two cats, and teaches creative writing at the Open University and the University of Brighton.
Image Credit: Stephen Wells