Bramble – a poem by Frances Knight

Frances Knight

Bramble

I
like a tattoo artist
she stains our fingers
indigo and crimson

Baba Yaga,
old wolf-tooth witch
with her crazy cross-stitch

II
That year I tried to clear you from my patch,
hewing at my grief
with my mother’s spade.

Yet even as I heaved and chopped
the whole of you remained intact –
you recomposed yourself,
black veins spooling new life,
your bog body still transmitting
like a field telephone
through the trenches I had dug.

III
Temporary car park:
for two summers, maybe three,
this was our foraging ground
black blobs of ink falling loose
into cupped hands.

Now, shrouded in tarmac
bramble waits for her moment
to pierce and puncture,
inserting spikes and crampons
to scale this horizontal
bitumen face,
that only a pneumatic drill
could shatter.

Still she waits, camps out
in benders of jagged fretwork
embroiders the edges with barbed lace.

Temporary – for her
the word has a different meaning,
like time itself,
she moves back and forwards,
scratching, suturing,
scoring each September
with drupelets darker than blood.

Bramble by Frances Knight received a special mention in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (August 2018) judged by Roger Elkin.

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