McGowan Dr J A – Dr Jennifer A McGowan

 When I Think “Purple”
it is immediately six o’clock, we’re
walking the dog, who hasn’t
yet eaten whatever it was,
you are bruised maybe a little
but nothing to signify,
I’ve still got both my
amethyst earrings.
Also the face of
the man we found
in the old oak out back,
the dog sniffing
his shadow,
the sky radiant
and him, gently

Her thin, fine spines are invisible in skin.
I’ve forgotten again, leaned on my desk as if
my life were not currently entwined with a cactus.
Leaning on Thing is a bad life choice; she agrees,
as she generally does, then stolidly shows off
new buds. So I suppose she’s happy.
Life with a cactus is much the same as life without,
barring the occasional impalings. When she pales and retracts,
I water her and hope Cotswold limescale isn’t poison.
She grows roots quickly in this place
of too many books and the clutter of decades. Perhaps
one day I’ll check and she will have bookcases, too.
They come to us all in the end.
I dread having to transplant. There are always spines
I don’t expect. A root or two always severs unevenly.
I dreamt of contagion
skin sagging to
blues      greys
the sadness of sacrificial eyes
their thoughts weeping
you had no hands
to touch
—no one did
 the space
between never bridged
& no crossing of words
nothing to hang upon
just eyes
& the lack of hands
I shook       scrambled
screamed awake
& lanced your core
to let the poison out

In Welsh, “recording angel” or “evangelist”, feminized. For further information, please see
Your name is written in me,
runs through me like sap, or blood.
Midnights are difficult.
Words rise up unbidden,
unwanted, our whole history,
intertwined like vines, shouted
into autumnshadow air.
I remember how your hands
reduced me to vowels.
How we stood, defied
the witching hours.
No more. No more.
The bells toll;
the trees speak;
I cry your name like a dead gospel
whose time has gone.


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