All was amniotic & suspended in circus fluid – dancers and skaters all around your roundness. You were a bubble, a sponge, a dot. Your neighbour was a newt’s breakfast.
You are old enough that the newt does not worry you now. It used to push against your cushion – which was belly, limb, eye and mouth all at once – with a precise kneading. Perfect invasion of your maybe-brethren.
And then land, which is more water than you expect. An embryonic boundary layer. The moon is a great big lung.
The green sludge that you bed on is slick and gruelling. Hard to eat this explosion of matter and grow. Hunting, however, so easy and smooth. Your tongue is more hand than fist. Pluck a hoverfly, pinch a money spider, pull an ant into you and chew it over like a long thought. This is what you do when the sun cooks the pond at high noon, water soldiers crackling like eggshells.
There is terror here, and it smells sweet: of sick, and death, which smells sweeter, and draws the ants. An elder lay folded in like a stone, rocking when the breeze hits. Skinbone, blackened, bleached and chewed. It is awful.
You do not have ‘disease’ in your language, so fear takes its place. No, there is no ignoring it now: frogs all dead and wasting, with necrotic limbs and bleeding at both ends. Devilish.
It comes with you, from pond to pond, awful ghosts trailing like an anchor. You feel safer, alone in dark crevices, and you believe it feeds on fear. You have no science to go on.
The summer is hot & long & wasting.
The devil’s seat
A whale skeleton suspended
a cloud hugging the ceiling, a short breath from
caving in the skylight with baleen weaponry.
If it had washed up on a beach, its fate had been fairer
than a mother self-beaching to find a lost
baby while its screeching song still rang
in her skull, its vibrational pull severed
between townspeople for blubber, bones still
pulsing leading local craftsmen to carve it and splice
it with vertebra which they cut into dovetails
and wide-tooth combs, bolting it all together with iron
nails, unable to reconcile why the seat made them sad
for their sons like they were expecting a war –
offering the seat to the church, which meant offering it to god
who knew the grieving tune it held, listened in a state of
contemplation which does not often happen to god
and we’re not really sure what his answer was, are we?
but we listen to the fisherfolk because they know what hard
weather is – they call it the devil’s seat and won’t go near it,
being far more susceptible to everlasting whale songs than you are.
and think: how easy it is to see the shapes of dragons
in the silhouettes of silent animals.
Jayd Green is a writer living in Norwich. She is currently a PhD student with the University of Suffolk, and Editorial Advisor for experimental poetry publisher, Osmosis Press. Her poems have appeared in Anthropocene, Foliate Oak literary magazine and Royal Rose. Forthcoming, she has a poem in the Broken Sleep Books ecopoetry anthology. Her writing and research is concerned with contemporary nature writing practices, ecocriticism, and the ecogothic. Her twitter handle is @jaydgreen
photo by Erik van Anholt (via unsplash)