The Weather Here
by Estill Pollock

A Cup-and-Ball Game

A cup-and-ball game, penny bets 
Against misdirection, the sun’s wheel and round it, planets 
Named for gods of Rome— poison seas, atmospheres 
Or storms the size of moons, our machines 
Sent before us to test the limits
And persuasions before the flyby
Into deeper dark

Some we keep closer, sentries in eavesdrop orbits
Until insurance lapses, juntas fall
Or redundancy claims 
The tech, abandoned sureties that flicker in the moment
Then disappear— a drifting debris 
Of spent authority burning blankscreen 
Into oceans

As much unseen as seen— ghost matter, unspace
And the afterlife of all there is, no 
Singularity of design, instead, a vast entreaty, everywhere 
The same

Penny bets of life and death, a sleight-of-hand 
Too quick to mark, except to think we can, a subtlety of dreams
No light is faster than

The Day a Beatles’ B-side

The day a Beatles’ B-side, no split atom
But still corona work, gin-clear
With scrabbles of waxwings in from Finland, trigger-cold
Migrations from the habit of apocalypse 

Now, the wind from the east
A lesser god, neglected where thaw erodes 
Philosophies of zero, the birds 
Returning home in ragged rotations

A subterfuge of seasons— winters 
Brief, quince brightening, red buds espalier 
The same month snowdrops frill the woods

Summer’s heredity of flies fetched early

The weather shrines collapse
To bent-iron waves— votive sensors, vanes 
And gauges looted as quirks of quaint acquaintance 
With regimes, droughts, the rains, deep 
Winters when they came again, reclaimed

We have no memory of time before, time
Itself a trick of plausible denials, each
Passing hour a hundred years, a day, its seasons

The wind’s face we dare to look upon

Rain in a Land of Rain

Rain in a land of rain dares thorns
To flower, the scrag 
Of May buds white as burst bone 
Above old mines— in the drum-roll wet 
Legacy oxides leaching yellow-green 

Sinew road in low cloud, cars
A dead march of fog lights, sat-navs correcting
Skewed latitudes, lost destinies

Compass hearts asking directions home

Spirits watch, through scattershot light
And clayslip topography, squat on stump moss
Or lazy by rivulet fractals, their belts
And sword harness a leather strop
Of creatures long extinct

For travellers, sudden shadows break the beams
Then gone— in late reflex 
A Morse of brake lights stuttering red

In the distance
The city-limit sign, talisman against a deeper dark

Artefact

Our artefacts define us

Jagged stone heaps, burial pits of gemstones draped
In bony hollows, a drum the dead marched to

But what of us
In this starry landfill 

Shell casings litter the streets, and ballistic flights arcing
Earthward confirm land-grab trajectories 
And sunk tonnage in burning ports 

The trees, too, expendable, boughs blown 
In fire winds in catchlight suburbs

A screen flickers— images and glyphs, routed
Through cool-climate structures 
By alphanumeric map references, no names 
No faces, only the hack
Of compromised spirits, relentless 
Against the walls 

A slingshot calculus primes orbiting machines
Beyond gravity, gentle as a hookah dream

Someone somewhere toggles a joystick— someone 
Somewhere else nestles 
A sleepy cat

The Road

The road settled centuries from
River slopes, a state somewhere 
Between silt-wash and the suspense of roots clawing
Air for purchase on eroded banks

No one walks here now, in these places
Winds claim, uncontested except for rooks
In their jagged dance of hierarchy

To the town below, the gradient describes
The cliff face to one side, on the other 
The dead drop— no safety rail with promises 
Of salvation 

The road is unmade bed, a lost allure
Of lovers gone their separate ways, slick 
As wet fish underfoot, or choke-dry in its season

It bellies at a dull bend of river, the causeway 
Since ancient times across rough water— Roman gates
Or Neolithic trace, time’s centrifuge teasing
Atom from atom

Against the consequence of shadows 
A simple breath is king, yet stalls— a flawed 
Inheritance no match for rooks 
In their regalia

 


Estill Pollock’s recent poetry publications include Entropy (2021) and the forthcoming Time Signatures, both from Broadstone Books in the United States. His earlier publications include the book cycles, Blackwater Quartet (2004)¬†and Relic Environments Trilogy (2011). He lives in Norfolk, England. Archives of and links to the work of Estill Pollock can be found here.

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