The key's toothed wards turn
The door locks shut

Outside, allotment of winter
Beech leaves smoke a bonfire tang
The warmth of spent breath

At low tide
The smell of mortal sickness
Mesh of nets
Humped against a wall
The beach's broken ikons of war
Savagely rusting

Show me a starfish
apricot limbs open
forsaken grace on the shore

I shall cradle the image
Set it
A wedding ring
for the waves


in the bare branches
by the padlocked church
crows flap

It is dry unbreakable weather
The sky rufous red

standing beneath the
spreading branches
scraping the roof of god

I've a flowerpot full of earth
to plant the unusable years and
watch those negro flowers rise fall

I'll call a wide river of rain

Then smoke among the crows

- Robert James Berry