Charles G Lauder Jr was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas, and has lived in south Leicestershire, UK, since 2000. His poems have appeared internationally, in journals such as The SHOp, Stand, Poetry Salzburg Review, The North, Agenda, California Quarterly, The Texas Observer, and will be appearing in upcoming issues of Under the Radar, The Interpreter’s House, and Magma Poetry. His pamphlet Bleeds was published in 2012 by Crystal Clear Creators.
Its murderous cry slices deep and quick.
When the air heals it is there
before the sun has considered retiring
this ghost this apparition of the night
its feathers drizzled in sanguine brown
all sound magnetized to its heart-shaped face
amplified in its silent glide and sudden drop
its wings brush-clapping above its head.
More than vapour this is a god descending
no resistance to the drop
as if it too is subject to gravity’s claw
but earth is never given satisfaction
talons never touch bottom
only push through the long grass
to the vole whose built-in cyanide
is already pumping through its veins.
outside that window the world could lie empty
nail and shrapnel bomb laid and detonated
siloes opened and missiles keyed
inside the room you twist and twist the tension
till your hands are chewed and bloody
you a witness to the moment
the naked and long-legged moment
she turns away cradles her head
her leg tangled in sheets slips to the floor
exposing within dense pubes sealed labial folds
Imprisoned like a princess in a birdcage
she threads a necklace of Zofran and Ativan
each day it grows a little longer
halving the distance till it’s complete
her bed long dissolved beneath its weight
her legs too from sitting for so long
any feeling for the world is fruitless
pinprick’s a stranger.
Too weak to kick open the cage
she dirges forth a dragon
of twisting ribbons red and gold and red
to take her where she wants to go.
She hangs the necklace in the corner
dangling it like clicking vertebrae.
What use is it to her now?
wind-worn holes in the sole of a shoe
bored through sock’s black membrane
are the first sign that it has entered
metastasis spread to frayed collar and cuffs
seams gaping with curled necrotic edges
allow a freakshow glimpse at the shadow
of early onset carry on regardless:
knees’ bared threads stained and scrubbed
stained and scrubbed perish one by one
buttons crack go missing gusset bulges
with a monstrosity pushing at the fabric
protuberance of horn hoof or wing.