Zoe Skoulding


The New Bridge

as the vein runs
                         under fragile reconstructions
of what was holding us together
            the river made of time and water
I walk beside the swing of your pulse
            and your heart pumps
                         in both directions at once
the lines of the landscape
                         run through me to somewhere else
sight lines shriek into the present
            loyalties tattooed in rose and gold
                         stop my mouth for
                                       we are water and time
            runs through us
                         the river sings between be-
tween rose and gold the blood
                                       runs between us outlines of fish
in the shadows slipping green
                         on this side of the river we and on that side they


The Bureau for the Suspension of Control

            at eye level a hand
                         caught in a gesture
of impatience
                         two floors up
stepping from the lift a foot
            hovers over nylon pile

only the corner of a paper falls
            in the breeze failing
                                       as the air con

stops control frozen
            in the decay of sound
                         stopped at the controls

            on the fifteenth floor
a hand
            rests on a keyboard

electricity clogs wires
            digital breath
                         hangs in the phones



I woke up with an ache the size of a continent
            etched on a glass and the water
                         behind it in my throat, spiny fish

swimming through my fingers. The miles
            ticked over crossings of arteries, the slow
                         pump round limbs thickened by winter

till my fingers melted into water, my neck
            became a ripple, shoulders slid
                         into waves, my blood turned cold as water

rushed in my ears. Wolves ran back to the sea
            as whales. It doesn’t end in ice or fire
                         but in drifting under the glassy cool,

translucent. You stopped thinking of me
            but I wouldn’t disappear: a form caught like a fossil
                         turned until the day passed through it.