for Colin Channer
For these cramped fragments of Thomas,
stir: ‘I had never loved England,’ and stir:
‘I had loved it foolishly,’ stir, transmuted:
‘like a slave, not having realized it was not mine.’
Ah, there, saint, captive, the sentinel is at
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The old trees shake out medals at midday
to the ship paused for a meteor’s blunting
glimpse in the windy yellow of the water,
partway to inventing another world.
Through the window’s tiger slats,
the bakery pumps smoke, years between
her irretrievable shawl, which crimsons
what I see, watching further and further,
until canisters shatter into nitrate stars,
late at night, saluting an unforgiving song.
I tilt down on her iron bed and cluster
haunted basil, the scent rifts morning open
to argon of cobwebs, the dim cargo, the bent
hills, the black gold, her hands, clasped
shut her children, long gone, under the sea.