SPOTLIGHT: H O U S E by Sanford Black

Ode to the fisherman

a solitary leaf rolls
away across the path
this air of certainty
cast & reeled as if fated
by a clear line

its only choice to keep
twisting & turning
tussling & whittling
far from home
never looking back

until its very fibres
crumble into dust
losing a part of itself
with each final turn
welcoming prayerful hands 

Radio Silence

a radio turned silent, robbed of its gaunt face and stubble’d tones by a bullet making widows; taunting abandoned children

nothing but lost echoes and stolen voices remain, taken like the breath of its last operator; the desperate cry of men screaming for their mummies

the cold empty case becomes swaddled by the earth; half buried alone in a field with the others, where dirty brown-red pools blur together like half mixed paint

this fractured land, bullied with past shadows of hooves & boots, steals away the heat of the crimson trickle, swallowing & turning the casing into a haunted time capsule

later it’ll be found by mourners and distraught traumatised comrades, after the war is over, where boy’s faces rest aged on their pillows, lost, where only they can hear the screams


that look of death
a lack of colour
an ill complexion
a sincerity in those shrinking eyes
the escaping darkness of a stolen soul

from a secret flaming pit
the black hood sits, hacking at a set of chains
attempting to set himself free 


I carried them to the brook at the bottom of the garden, in a bag along with the heaviest rock I could find. I said a prayer, held them close to me, momentarily, loud memories nuzzling my face. I dropped them into the water, tears falling like knives, eyes pleading with me through the rippled lens of the brook. I saw the lights go out one by one, as the last bubbles rose to the surface. I couldn’t do it, couldn’t let them go. I jumped in, lifted them out, revived and re-lived each claw, bite, scratch mark like I deserved it. Like I deserved to carry this bag of kittens forever.

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