LockdownThe high crowns of seven trees
stand taller than the slate roofs beyond.
Two men climb them, acrobats who
find safe footholds, lop long branches
into the belly of a shrill machine.
Whistles and shouts. Scaffolding
clangs as it’s hand-hoisted
length over length, locked tight,
a temporary exoskeleton,
Leaves shrink, unfix themselves,
lie where they fall, like parchment,
the slow disclosure of what was
hidden behind that lush screen,
summer’s green indifference.
Trees become quiescent,
brittle armatures silvered by rain,
a charcoal sketch scratched
on wet paper and half erased,
a piece of stitching, unravelling.
At dusk the geometry of windows
declares itself. Reflected sunlight
streams from distant glass, strikes
this winter wall, dazzling, diagonal.
Lamps are lit, shine like milky moons.
In This Time of InfectionMorning glare of snow and the sky a percale tent
pitched overhead. Horizontals – sills, lintels, pediments –
are sugared, pigeons scribble over crisp shoe-prints
and the daytime moon hangs in the empty branches of an elm.
Days run through our hands like dry sand.
Pavements turn botanical as foxglove, nettle
and red valerian occupy their damp margins.
In the gutter, a bird’s egg, cleanly perforated, white.
A gull scatters bin-spill, lifts, takes speculative flight.
The dark leaves of a loquat tree quiver and are still.
From where I sit: the rough-hewn backs of an almost
grand terrace, a child’s drawing, a mortar-sketch.
Gardens lie as if between the stone ribs of an old sea-creature,
our street’s silent, ourselves penned within these dry walls.
At night, two lighted windows, dependable strangers.
Imogen Forster lives and works in Edinburgh. She has an MA in Writing Poetry from Newcastle University. Her debut pamphlet, The Grass Boat, was published in 2021 by Mariscat Press, and its title poem appears in the Scottish Poetry Library’s online anthology, Best Scottish Poems 2021. Her second pamphlet is currently under consideration with two publishers. Twitter: @ImogenForster2
Banner Art: Criss-Cross Garden, a visual poem creation by Robert Frede Kenter (c) (2023). Twitter: @frede_kenter, IG: r.f.k.vispocityshuffle.