The Friday Poem: ‘Winter wood’ by Emer Lyons

New verse by Dunedin writer Emer Lyons.


Winter wood.


Someone is chopping wood outside my window,

or is it loudly inside my head?

The slow swish of the axe

the sharp splinter scattering little shards –

impossible to clean up.


I want to burrow beneath the soil,

lie under the heavy comfort

of the world’s body weight

in coffined deathly silence.


I have these postcards I frame,

images for tourists who know nothing of a place

to send to their families and friends

who know even less.


A turbaned courier driver asks me to shut his van door

Why me? I think, looking around –

the street is full with the kind of people

who talk to other people

when you call them on the phone.


I search my face for trustworthiness

in the hotel room mirror

I have to crouch to look into it.

I should feel reassured

when the computer tells me I am not a robot

instead I feel more mechanical than ever –

where are all the wayward children?


The chopped wood is stacked

in a neat cascading pile against the side of the house

like a cat bringing home a bird,

I can provide it says

blood congealing in its fur.


Emer Lyons, 2017

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