Two New Poems by Alex Shaw

18 Dec 2015



i.m. Thomas Keillor


Dust on ledger and spine –

and it’s not the spread dust

of war that browned his cockpit

over Rabat Sale, Portreath,


it’s rust circles on a book

in the attic, degrees

of separation. I will keep

this point in air above


water an aside in his

Flying Logbook: Ditched

off Spanish coast. Picked

up by fishing vessel.




There was a kind of order in all her beds,

even where the wild strawberries grew.


She kept the purple blush of rhododendrons

to the back, because she knew about colour


in paintings, like the oil she impulse-

bought for him of a cherub sitting


by a vase, sold once before at Christie’s.

She sat up by it often, in the back-room


with her lover’s maps, and one night let

Lithuania slip through her hands. Countries


she knew had been dissolving, maps unmade

like beds turned over, or paintings with a tear


to their canvas. I never knew her protocol

for flower-arranging, or whether years ago


she stopped making up all the details.


 Image credit: Martin Brigden

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