ISOTHERM Jos Smith
The Leading Edge
As if forty yoke of oxen with nosegays in their horns were hauling the maypole north at the head of a crowd singing michty nottis cleir,
there’s a summer beyond the summer, a world within this world, bring the May, sing cuckoo, the blood of the buck is on the rise.
sprouting umbellifera in untoward nooks it’s a’kicking up a noise there are bells in the dark in unseemly variations it compels the heart’s unstable excess over decades at a pitch all its trembling own it makes a home in another’s nest.
See the beady-eyed habitat bleed out down the valleys like a cloud-shadow scudding for the suburbs –
See a national park like an emptying ark and the screaming swifts in the multiplex roof and the kestrels feeding in an alley.
I warn you everyone for summer is a-come unto day drawing finches and toads across the inner ring roads into wide open spaces, sing cuckoo, sing how will you fare out there? It’s a feral kind of weather creeping into woodland fungi,
The Trailing Edge
And there’s a winter in the summer where the habitat gives like a rockfall into a pool. Then aphasia and fog on the shore – everyone a someone left behind. What does a loss of birds look like?
What is the collective noun for such losses? Would you hear the silence of lapwings, of thrushes?
Hard to think in this depopulating heat. Things vanish. The names of things linger a while.
Douse your fire and relight it to protect against extinction. Take a breath / on the cusp.
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