James W. Wood’s work has appeared in journals in Ireland, the UK, US, Canada and Australia, including The Honest Ulsterman, The Times Literary Supplement, The South-West Review(US), The Boston Review (US), and The Rochford Street Review (Australia). A 2018 recipient of the British Columbia Writer’s Award, he is author of six books of poetry published in the UK and a pseudonymous thriller published in the UK and selected for the 2011 Rome Film Festival. His Selected Poems 1989-2019 will be published in September 2019 by the High Window Press (Leeds, UK).
A leopard. A lover. Tangled in embrace or battle, lost
in a hall of mirrors, did I dream I saw you or need
you in my dream? Then that animal turned apiary, bees drinking
of some eternal essence, nectar culled from this rutting sweetness
much as Taurus might have tupped til death. Once, half of me
had been you: if there is ideal order in nature, and you
can pretend against all proof there is, then give me justice –
but there can be no justice with this rage, this anger. Empty
like cadaverous sky, the rotten hull that was a proud
beast sinks to the earth, swollen with flies and dust. No
perfection in that putrefaction, nor in my hands that reach
for you in night to find only emptiness and longing. And longing.