Poetry by Clare Pennington


Three poems by Clare Pennington


A Blood Head at the Museum  

The blood ice, moulded  
To the contours of the slight lump on the back of the head,  
True to a twisting rise along the nose  
Feathered lips and clumpy eye-lashes,  
Is aging rust,   
Joined in a frozen arc scar that. 
Along the back of the ears, curving over the skull 
Makes indirect. Contact. 
The museum tastes of new school books, paper white chocolate.  
Mortis: Genitive Singular.  But here is one of some.   
Brain Freeze!   
My thoughtful posture on white background  
Is wiped away.  
Brain Freeze! Her voice is pitched high, 
Her in pink eyeliner and plastic bracelets. Friend in black hoodie with the word Heart sewn to its back: Blood slush puppy! EEE - You.  
The warm and decaying colours    
Make frozen bruises with the frosted, berry flakes. 
Impulse scent.  
Slices through the white.  
And I silently thank them in my relief 
I don't need to possess any deaths.  

In Seville  

Think of eyes opening   
In the submarine, the submembrane bell of her body,   
Heavy-lidded flickering, fluid on eyeball  
The practiced breathing of liquid.   
Think of the city   
Baked terracotta and  
Grey-veined marble  
On which she cools her giants' feet.  
There will be an open wound.  
Then if you're lucky, a scar.  
But that is all you can know.   
Her neck turns,  
And there it is.  
A dark half moon, lunar lift of cancer growing. 
You weigh the possibilities  
Dissect them carefully as a surgeon. 
But your hands shake   
And the stars are heavy.  

Inside of a Chestnut 

The Sky:  

A sickly, neon-pink glows   
Behind darkening cumulous.   
Behind Greenwich chimneys.
Swifts turn as they race to nest.   
The Hill:  

The long grass is folded   
Green and wheat over a mossy sloth's back.   
The Tree:  

Old branches reach down   
Beginning a longer descent 
Into the earth.   
The Chestnut:

The tin can we hid here last summer   
Is gone   
But I pocket a smooth chestnut   
To put a part of you on the mantle-piece. 

26 January 2017