Light between wings, those feather-spaced oars. Soft flushing strokes, breaking water in beautiful Vs. One barb, one hook, one question away from, then back to the other. Closer and farther away from the heart. The line dragging cool against her hand, her palm a September morning when all the cars fell quiet and the grass grew taller. This is the hide of our hearts, the rendering of our lives down to truth, the skimmed silence found in empty bowls and folded curtains, the frown of a woman who has lost all there is to lose. What tragedy there is in this world, enough to fill every bird-hide in the world and all the air around them. I take the light from between your wings, slide it under my corneas and wait for the darkness there to recede. Wait for the morning to fold across your lap, smooth its brow, like lead, like the dead, like that final sigh as you lay your head back on the pillow. Then preen, preen, preen.
Lisa Matthews has published four books of poetry. Postcard from a Waterless Lake was published by Diamond Twig Press, The Deadheading Diaries by Dogeater Press and The Eternally Packed Suitcase by Vane Women Press.
Callisto, Lisa's fourth collection (Red Squirrel Press, June 2018), is a series of interconnected sequences and her first book to be written entirely in prose poetry. The eponymous character at the heart of the book was inspired by a neighbour in Benwell, the Newcastle suburb where Lisa was born and raised. Callisto wends its way from the 1970s to the present day and beyond, taking cues from the inner-city landscape. Inspirations include the photography of Tish Murtha, Sibyl Fawlty, handed-down family memories and the savage beauty of the northeast coastline. All the poems in Callisto started life as prose maquettes and fragments in writing journals, and this collection marks a major shift in Lisa's writing practice.
Lisa lives on the north east coast of England and runs her own creative writing business; her website is PoetryFold.
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Preen © 2018 Lisa Matthews: used with permission.
Copyright of this poem remains with the poet: please do not download or republish without permission.