2 poems by Rachel Bower


Fortune


the cellophane fish

curled on her palm

promises luck


but she’s not sure


knows when oarfish rise

to shallow waters

quakes are near


a bad omen


spiny dogfish passed

off for cod, neatly

parcelled in paper


with a smile


tyrian purple, the smell

of clotted blood,

deception


or indifference


black plastic

invisible to the eye

of the optical sorter


even plenitude


five loaves and two fish

full of plastic, all

hoping for miracles


for lucky stars



Vixen

After W. S. Merwin


She nudges her cubs out, nose to head, as alert to threat

as they are ignorant, tumbling around her feet, pushing


her crouched legs straight. They jumble for milk, heat

between teeth as she looks ahead, scans the bush


for tremors, amber eyes bright. She is sturdy, little trace

of light paws running, streak of rust, clearing the fence –


slacker now, heavy with birth but the glowing face

betrays her, she will fly again, out like a flame if she senses


danger, slick into the night. But for now, she is maternal,

nosing them back underground. No trickery here, curling


a nest of dusty cubs, no perfect, hotly packed but gentle

in this dark gathering of blood, bracken and hearts unfurling.


___________


Rachel Bower is the author of Moon Milk (Valley Press, 2017) and Epistolarity and World

Literature (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017). Her poetry and short fiction has been widely

published, including in The London Magazine, The White Review, Magma, Stand

Magazine, New Welsh Reader and English Studies.