Two poems by Ross Cogan

Ross Cogan

Loki as falcon

I slide the skin on over my own skin;
cold, corpse-like it is and cratered where quills
stand in their inkwells. A savage eye
I shrug on too and a barrage of sharp moons.
My new flesh knows the call of a thermal,
the joyful song of the ploughed field I can ride

real as a stream while this raiment of sails
sets and trims itself again and again
with each new note. Caves have been cut
in my bones; my shriek splits clouds like the shrill
scrape of iron on whetstone. When I return
youth lies in my talons, tight as a nut.

In your hands

I wonder at the small bones that you keep
locked in your hands’ chapel, tight in their sleeves

of skin like the white chalk under downland.
And I wonder at the way they mesh, side laid

on side, tips touching like a clinker keel,
or fall open showing boundary, canal.

Lend me your palms’ heat; let me reorder
its small muscles, tangle my own fingers

in yours, neat as the beams beneath the slate.
Cast your dice for me. Show me my fate.

‘Loki as Falcon’ and ‘In Your Hands’ by Ross Cogan won the Second and Highly Commended prizes in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (August 2016) judged by Terry Jones.