Poetry / September 2014 (Issue 25)

Two Poems

by Andrew Purches


At the heat of the riverbank
we have massed, with bodies
pressed in urgency against
each other, caught in the
forward demands of migration,
the passage of the herd
interrupted in its
Impatient heads are lifted to
snort nervously at the figures
in pedestrian lights and
hooves stomp in readiness, lost
in the need for
destination. And within
the water stream the reptilian
shapes of the traffic move in
a patient cruising of
the currents,
waiting for the first crossing
to occur, to be intent on the
stragglers. Then a wave
breaks in anticipation,
as the amber light
switches, and the flow of
the river dies slowly, reluctant
to surrender. And red. And
the first bodies break forward,
to leap the gap, with the mass
blindly cutting a wedge
through the crossing, panicked
by the unfamiliar element,
driven forward
in the instinct of journey.


The sound of the wind
is against its skin,
bleaching with heat,
and I hear the house: the
groan within its guts
as it stirs.
Its bones ache with
waiting. We have
both entered into
our old age together,
and the loss of
voice is killing us:
our insides stir
in unison; our hides
have been toughened
from the whiteness
of the sun.
The sound of the wind
has slipped inside;
and it provides the
words that we both
lack; in the way our
bodies wait and
settle onto the spare
dirt that gives no
nutrients to ease our
griping ribs.
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