Quarrelling voices rise through floorboards
warped by age and shifting subsoil
transmuting bedrock to deceitful quicksand.
Fever waxes humid and flickering sleep
conjures a scene in monochrome.
A stalking form flutters across the viewfinder.
Lurid headlines howl their outrage
at a little girl’s violation and murder.
She was my age.
A map is folded and, away on the Chase
a distance of miles foreshortened to a blink
opens again in a pinched, passed-over place
a copse at dusk; bark, knots and boles
straining imperfections, bend the grain
carve lungless screams in grotesque flourishes
twisted roots into a strangler’s remorseless grip.
In that febrile instant amplified to hours
the ego’s conviction is unquestioned
that I must be next.