the cover bares a strawberry goddess    the whir of the fan    the stir
of dry book-sweat    the goddess with strawberry breasts    shelves
on rails    giant vice-jaws with book-spine teeth    I have stepped

into the gap    the fan's noise fades    is insulated    by books by
pages by words by letters by dates    Green Magic published 1977
I was eight    embraced    by the heat of  The Queen's Silver Jubilee

the goddess shields her eyes from the sun    a long summer holiday
bliss    hot    the goddess gazes beyond us    Standard Dictionary
of Folklore    below this The Science in Science Fiction    opposite

is Cookery for All    either side of the goddess stand two nettle men
each grasping with nettle hands a nettle staff    down by the stream
in '77    we made labyrinths in the nettles    I read the frightening

fascinating The Cat in The Hat    mum threatens to weigh us and
weigh us after    the cover bares strawberry breasts    pick your own
our red mouths reciting red words plucked from rows of green shelves


loss is laid out along hedges    is    stretched across five or more
fields    loss is glinting on tiles    the stream's sound is loss‚s comings
& goings only ways loss knows    open    a book where loss is written

pages are white spattered with black    loss is not in letters a nor z    but
in shapes between    what    will be said    loss is sitting in the tree next
door    it's black or red or white    it's watching the girl cross the road

and also the boy with the knife in his pocket    loss is laid out along
streets    some cars    feel    shudders through old suspension    bricks
in mother's pantry seep    a soft white fluff of loss    the mouthful

of loss you chew slowly is warm when it slides into your gut    later
loss in the pan    that you'll flush    stinks of things food is not    we
hold hands    the sweat we    mix    is tainted    the slipperiness of our

meeting in sex is the    same    slipperiness when we pull apart    loss
is hung out to dry on a washing line    is clean    & white as ghosts
morning sun makes rise from puddles on roads or grasses in meadows

            only    silence at loss's very end is ready &    full


a long black box of water    a water-clock     each rise
of surface tension a tick    each fall a tock    a man‚s hand
on a tiller is tight    knuckles white     he guides his boat‚s

length in to a black long water box    a water-black long
box    a black-box length of water    a rubbing bump against
slimy bricks     a lock is pregnant with a mass of narrow-boat

a propeller makes & churns wet words for a drenched & old
indecipherable language    a lock is oiled    a narrow key
of a boat is in    tumblers of froth begin to turn    surplices

of water spouting into a lock white hankies of water white
frocks pouring water shifting tons of iron    black white-tipped
magician's sticks of a lock-gate     magpie wings     white-

cuffed black arms of a policeman from a past    vestment-
blacks    dog-collar-whites     white bowler hats of bollards    black
shadows cast by white light     beyond a lock water on another level


willow stitched into evening sky    black veins
& fish    jacket of dimensions    woven living ink

complex dark hand on smooth blue skin
skin deep as every thing    as very where   owl call

expands droplets of dew    my tongue runs round
my mouth    feels slippery teeth & soft lip-skin

I feel in dark    pink    a cloud builds a white house
full of blackening dream & dazzling tendrils

willow's soft bending knives slicing coming night‚s
vast blue mind    I run my tongue round my mouth

imagine my teeth & jawbone dry    very thing   my tongue
rotted gone    gone long ago   a smell from soil rises

coils its touch round my brain's naked tip   rain trembles
unfallen   my throat‚s bulb glows sound    willow-lattice

entwined with world & where    roots spook through ground
leaves shuffle laden air    my red lattice of veins vibrates

        up from feet to skull life jolts

                 © Mark Goodwin 2005