Two New Poems by Alex Shaw
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