Issue 22: Kerrin Sharpe


the crucified statue

grows more bruises

dies more daily

through the slit of his heart

flames of blood

through the chink of his skull

real thorns real hair

shadows of candlelight

flick open his lips

the longer I pray

he seems to say

why are the hunters homeless

in the stealth and stalk

of the forest in the cluck-cluck

of rain? why do they hide

from the natter of snow

then entertain woodcutters

with the manners of axes

the moods of chainsaws?

he turns towards his mother

Our Lady of Ransom

Star of the Sea

they're trying to put

a price on a tree


sick of field fairies burning his turf wall

dad built one around himself

in his passport he’s veiled

by a halo of curls

it was the 60’s

whenever footage of the Irish troubles

came on the news dad left the room

rumours from his village followed him

across the Pacific

          shot in the leg kicking a ball

          hidden in barns attics chimneys

          an incident at a railway station

perhaps that was why he needed elbow room

          to fish in a river all night

          to pray in an empty church

          to stare at the sky

when he woke from a stroke

all his words          jumped ship

except who

he went from a man who read dictionaries

like novels to a man fluttering between worlds

after the funeral a stranger rang to say

dad had been on his watch list


an elm pushed by an angry wind

falls like scaffolding around the church

the trunk wide as a crow’s yawn

as the boy’s yawn who smokes

saws a branch smokes saws a branch

takes a break stares at the trunk

where it fell where it stays


where gracious tides of bells

scatter darkness from Percy's pale coffin


carried with every respect over the trunk

where now two fox cubs live

Kerrin P. Sharpe has published four collections of poetry: three days in a wishing well (2012); there's a medical name for this (2014); rabbit rabbit (2015) and louder 2018. Her poems have been published in a wide range of journals in New Zealand and internationally, including Best NZ Poems, Oxford Poets 13 (Carcanet Press UK) Poetry (USA).

Copyright © 2019 by Kerrin P. Sharpe, all rights reserved. This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of Copyright law. Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the notification of the journal and consent of the author.