Kerry Petherbridge's Poetry

Kerry Petherbridge
Tips for Repelling Barbarians

run a bath when you hear them coming
sweep the floor on the way in and out of the bathroom
leaving no trace
of your former beauty
pull the plug

when you see dust rising up the track
let yourself drift into a reverie of childhood
gorging apricot fall
in the glimmering dusk
become innocent

loose your limbs
in a candid romp of inner freak
unbounded
innocent, free
become
a foetal unattraction

this holy communion

you
don’t need to tell
me -
name of
bacteria,
virus,
colour of car crash
or toy
left behind
on hospital bed,
place they fell

I
already know
the size
of your shaking
why you ran
how you folded,
the scent
of where you hide,
even now

our
salt-thick
red river magnet
pulls us equally home
lets me
weep
hold
fly with you
on a breath

stitches
in a cloudy eiderdown,
patches sewn
on the weightless tears
of heavenly trousers

The Strength for Resurrection

he was high in his tower
studying snowflakes
the flood never touched him
as it rose

deaf to the sound track
of the earth on the move
in his too-tight fit-boy
turquoise Tee

he ignored the women’s whispers
their out-loud modest plea

he didn’t finish Easter
his tongue stayed sharp
and cross
feet unwashed
didn’t hear the voice of love’s
‘hush now, come away’
it was lost
to his
intention,
to his
clever managed
play

came the roar of Durga
she sniffed the frozen door where
this boy ignored the warnings
(thinks it all a perfect snore)

she lands
on paws indoors
breaks his neck
with stripe-foot snap
lets her breath sigh on the snowflake
turns the ice to open tap
drinks a waterfall of quenching
leaves the rest
to rinse the trap

springs away into the roses
but a thorn has pierced her pad
she is injured
- breaking bad
a maiden, Fortitude,
restores the injured paw
this, not a fortress,
resurrects her law.

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