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2 poems by Dominic Leonard

This Mysterious

for Lawrie

Enter by night the moon moon moon

slipping down through the smart

hatch of your gaze – watching

as the cold truth of it ties a cats-

cradle between your fingers. Little

wutherer, I wish for you huge

luminous, scribbles and stridency,

boiled milk – to be as

wakingly baffled as any of us

who float this mysterious

glass canoe over

the numberless goings-on of life

all you can hold. All you can hold.

And yes life can be held.

And yes I do fear.

But unhooked chunks of

night flocking to your side

like great-aunts come through

the sonic cold, bearing fruit

and feeble explanations for

everything, not least the gravity

that hangs – speechless –

from your thumb. Go,

in your small wellies

across the endless rooftops

The ideal name would resemble water

Like the steady entrance of something sheer,

deliberate, a line on the sea appears;

or the line is the sea, in the distance where

gather several distances. Imperative light,

slopes. Dull rain miles off in a gap no

wider than a pool cue, far beneath the sun,

a skein of action fastened to silence.

Over the breakwaters humming with rot

lulls the tide that deepens its pitch, shifting

shingle and mud-scribble, soft as a ditch,

oyster-shell crockery moulded of sludge

opulent, kilned. The wind pulls itself on,

the utter room of its music hung in

some flute, some crystal film of dizziness,

adjusts the air like a composer fiddling,

then a sound the exact shape of a gull

then a sound the exact shape of a gull –

this moment and that moment endlessly

are meeting themselves just above the sea


Dominic Leonard's writing has been published in The Poetry Review, PN Review, Pain, the TLS and elsewhere. In 2019 he received an Eric Gregory Award from the Society of Authors, and his pamphlet, Dirt (2021), was published recently by Broken Sleep.


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