What Matters is the Hiss of Powder
The first weekend of May
Clear slate sky
Mulch of leaves deaden footfalls
Khaki shadows make mud
Tempt the game with a trail of barley
Slither into tattered shoots:
Maimai made of autumn produce.
The first soft splash – an explosion
Wrought steel and wood used to scatter
Feathers fly like split down duvets
The stain of red on brown
Plumes of black smoke fill the slate
Muting keening laments
The pond splattered pink.
Charcoal embers crackle
Vinegar draws the blood out
Poison lead inside the breast
Pluck bruised petals
Tear the sinews aside
Oozing sludge left behind
The game of feather secretes life
The lacrimal glands secrete fluid
The taste seems stolen,
The hands stained.
What matters is the hiss of powder
Sluicing through the air like the twang of acid rain.
What matters is the salt will carve your cheeks
Like your guns carve their wings.
by Lucy Brownlee
St Andrews College