The poems on this page revolve now and again, most of them new(ish).  This particular poem was written for an anthology called Heavenly Bodies, which has just been published by Beautiful Dragons Press.  It was inspired by my time in Mongolia, and the constellation Vulpecular - the little fox.


Daughters of the Dust

There can be no mermaids of the steppe
though its bare hills roll and boom like the sea. Only
some stranger creature, lithe in the gelid dust
and furred like a fox: silent, accusing in the eyes,
a deep wind parting fur down to bone coloured skin.
Horizons pile thin as paper one atop the next
and they spin their story into the pinched air: a woman,
and a wish, and a corsac fox. Nights

of the great white zud they might dance away the snow,
leaving paths of grass for the herd to eat, or else
rise like walls to blow across the landscape
stately and slow and sickening, only the chiming ice
singing their welcome with its spare high notes,
each like the prick of a needle. And in the city,
where the nights smell of sweet smoke and milk
and idling traffic, they go walking now:

silent over the glaze of blood frozen to the ground
around the wrestling palace. Silent in the alleys
where stray dogs sleep in the warmth from sewer grates.
Silent past the cafés where soldiers thaw their brows
over salt milk tea. Silent, until they are singing,
each alone in the dim reaches of the night,
each pale as an unlit candle, up through the gers
where the roads falter and the lights go out; up to the mountain
where the wind sings back; towering, and tidal, and old.