it's hard enough gathering stones
igneous, metamorphic, sedimentary

we've come to the beach again
to sit eyes closed listening to

stones   to suck them dry
to stick the tongue through

the hole in the middle   to
salt words that won't come

easy anymore

the various names for god

the first breath and the last

hair cut from the head of a bishop

preserved under glass

a ring in a pawn shop

all rings which have

neither a beginning nor an end

the furthest planet swinging round the sun

encased in bone  every electrical storm

that manufactures dreams    precipitates

a hill seen from the house cloudy or clear

the promise of rain


the garden is like a mirror
safe/unsafe    unreachable

as likely to see a mouse
on the sheet  as to walk

any line  or take a long sentence
and run with it

when the clock speaks
it lies like an automaton

boxed and silent
until struck

all of this can be
ground to a pulp  witnessed

and sucked   backwards
through a straw


I cut my nails and make
the image of a child in wax

imagine the fragile bone
begin   the heart summon

its strength     stroked skin
luminous as a pearl

I look beneath translucency
to where fine webs of vessels

curl  in scripted labyrinths
impossible to read

      Janet Sutherland 2006