Poem for September

Nightrunning

So much cold
even the moon can’t swallow it
or the harbour in its fishy dark. You
balance your breath like a bowl of dry
ice. It’s all a mistake, this body,
this job, this love. Somewhere inside
where the heart spins hard on its string
is an animal watching. It scratches
at night, perhaps with a beak or a tusk,
is neither kind nor unkind, just restless.

So much rain
even the deepest hill can’t filter it
or the river with its open gills. You
carry your heart like a full dish of blood.
It’s all such a blessing, this body,
this job, this love. Somewhere inside
where the lungs stretch their intricate wings
is an animal watching. It wriggles
at night and shows its belly or its tender scales,
is neither kind nor unkind, just restless.

Tiffany Atkinson

Tiffany Atkinson was born in Berlin and is currently Professor of Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia. This poem is taken from her third collection ‘So Many Moving Parts’ published by Bloodaxe in 2014. Her poems often surprise with their combination of wit and tenderness. In Nightrunning she expresses the often contradictory feelings we have about our lives during moments of introspection in the small hours. Poem and words contributed by David Underdown.

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