Imagining the Woods at Katyn
Rain is in my hair, it is bending
back leaves where the pale mouths
of convolvulus implore a silence.
A finger-bone lies at my feet,
its fine nib glistening in the rain,
writing and re-writing the same story.
I've brought a white handkerchief,
empty pockets, the clay of another
country smothering my boots to
this place where God forgot himself
again, closing his eyes so that
the rain would not fill them.
The woods tease my ears with brotherly
whispers of comfort; there is a stink
of leaf-mould and sour uniforms.
A collared dove follows her cry into
this silence, pecking at young
mushrooms which glow like skin in
the clearing where they knelt,
hands snared in prayer,
the pistol barking at their necks.
Spiders tie their gauzes everywhere:
over the iridescence of tyre-ruts.
Onto leaves that shiver still.
Rain is in my hair and I am tangled
in its blue veils, stumbling across
the forest's unmerciful frontiers of light.