On Conception

Love making ends

bottoms in seats –

Virgin beginning from another virgin taken,

And all hands on 12-day old heart beats.

Or pre-determined

Dates, earmarked for ovial optimism

By women of long aching maternity,

are vesicles of syncopated fornication.

Or shouts: “It’s hot as hell”

On a night built of steam, the sex of games,

And from the bedside bottle remembered early well

Liquid-come infant names.

But all end in dilated screams

And all the other stuff of dreams.


The day my grandfather broke the law in the churchyard

Was just coming out of the rain:

The Japanese maples pulled their fat, bruised leaves

Dripping out of thigh-high mist

Like eggs eased out of bowls of dye.

It was early, so no one was leaving the Douglas Arms

Or the film rental shop across the main street,

And Jim Gibson the minister was inside with the flowers.

No one was there to see him stoop

shovel in hand, or see him lower

The oval into a hole, under

The stunted cherry tree that only grew branches on one side.