Hungarian Dance 4th November 1956
Her fingertips brush the tassels of the lampshade.
She holds a cinquième below the dulling light.
A mournful piccolo wails alongside
her father’s gentle touch on the piano keys.
The clarinet resists the mood of the piccolo,
and Jolin runs into a pliè, face skyward.
The spinning force prevents intrusion
from invaders inside her home.
She leaps to the passion of the violins’ bows,
marking the extents of the room with her pointes.
Military brass heralds Soviet percussion,
en err ère, en avante, en err ère.
Like father, Andris played while she danced.
Softened notes caressed gentle toes on the boards.
Now he steps to the call of the drumbeat
Carried into the mouth of the cannon.
Scrap by Jack Faricy won third prize in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (August 2019) judged by Roger Elkin.
The tree of death is saving my life.
My skin burns with the sunset and rust
of its leaf, its sap, its poison in proportion
to how much to kill, how much to save.
Graveyard tree, roots hollowing passages
in the Underworld I might travel from
to crook a sky in an elbow of branch.
Taxotere, Agent Chemotherapy, yew and me
wedged together, become each other – wedded
blood to blood. Remember me? I climbed you,
maimed you, saved your leaves for this – knew you
hated interference, amputation. I swept up your leaves
like tears – rage not sorrow. Now you have me.
This time I can’t descend without consent,
can’t let go. I’m hooked on you.
Lest I catch my death of you, be my angel
either way, releaf me from this half-life.
Yew by Ruth Calway won second prize in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (August 2019) judged by Roger Elkin.