September 2012

poem10 Sep 2012 07:56 am
The red-tailed hawk
searches the air for thermals,
its pinions fingering the alien sky.
It shoulders its way past pink clouds
and soars in lazy spirals
above the thorny blue plain.

The scientists watch earnestly,
their eyes pressed to binoculars,
hands tapping at keyboards.

No motion of prey is visible
through the dense foliage.
A glint of water in the distance
beckons with the promise of fish.
The hawk banks toward it,
talons flexing.

The water explodes as a catapult fish
launches its jaws skyward,
trailing a long intestine.
Serrated teeth snap closed
and the catapult fish reels in its mouthful
of struggling prey.

The scientists sigh,
cross “hawk” off the long list,
and wish again that terraforming
was not so full of assumptions.

poem03 Sep 2012 06:12 pm

Last night you invaded my dreams again.
Just how long do you expect to hang around?
But here you are,
A regular supernatural Jack-in-the box.
There was a time when the dead
Had the courtesy to stay so.

The first time I buried you was ten years ago.
Your constant presence was soothing.
I enjoyed your companionship,
But life with the dead quickly palls
Into a six foot rut.
I suggested you visited
A little less often.

That was fine for a while until your visits
Began to interfere with the daily task
Of living. A job I do very well.
So I put you back in the box
And turned the key; bringing you out
Once in a while to check that you were dead.
But you never were.

Those last times, I thought I’d really nailed you.
Exorcism: book of my words
And candle of our love;
Guttered of course.
But the reading of the words named you
And you it was
Who rang the bell.

It’s the sheer nerve of it though.
You bear no resemblance to the original.
Oh physically speaking, yes,
If that’s the word for it.
But you are too caring, too considerate,
Too full of love to have been you.
Perhaps that’s the problem.

So I am seizing this conundrum,
The you that was, the you that is, the you that isn’t,
And back in the box you all go,
Sealed down forever with original failings.
What a laugh if he could perform the last and final rites,
But over ten years we’ve misplaced the body
And, anyway, I look good in black.

J.S.Watts was born in London and now lives and writes in East Anglia. Her poetry, short stories and book reviews appear in a variety of publications in Britain, Canada, Australia and the States including Acumen, Brittle Star, Envoi, Orbis and The Journal and have been broadcast on BBC and Independent Radio. She is currently Poetry Reviews Editor for Open Wide Magazine. Her debut poetry collection, Cats and Other Myths, is published by Lapwing Publications. Further details are available at