by Jacob Polley

by hedgehog path
and badger path, Jackself
happens with the clouds
into sunlight              water-
damaged sky, silver in the floor
and Jackself on all fours,
his skin skin his
talk all gone
     hound’s tongue oxeyes
birdsfoot rosehips
     grain of the wind
in a buzzard’s wing
bones, empty as the sky
     crab apples oak apples applejack
under his ink cap,
holes in his foxgloves, his
foot leather black
and supple now he knows
his own mind with it            goes
by cattle grid
and cattle trough, icy
sloshings in him                   fears
the dog
and Lucy Fur, who
glints at night
where he trembles, shut in
everywhere with his own
heartrush and the trees’ roar
     a white root
threading the muck
under a rotted log
wakes him
     bent pale stalks,
leaves let go
to dry-curl and turn on the surface
of the sky, small
panes of it where the
tarmac gives out
     he returns
nowhere to somewhere by
standing there
in sunlight, its flicking
over him like         likelike
     he’s been this way
before he couldn’t
remember any way but
onwards and upwind
     along a fence-line
to see what’s hanging, down
in a ditch where the still
dark stands