Webster was much possessed by death, he saw the skull beneath the skin…


The Idea is the thing itself,
they flow together as a single stream of blood.
The seeping lesion on the third finger of my right hand,
made by gnawing ratlike to the quick,
releases its spent toxins, my nails are spotted
by a shortage of zinc, knuckles already growing
an arthritic sheath. They are capable of miracles.

I am made more wondrous for my rot,
perfected by the fester that is the birth of death.

Riding my bike through a culvert the day before last ,
skidding in the driving rain, my wheels thumped across
the waterlogged corpse of a rat, fur slicked in comb-streaks
by the force of the mud. It was dead before my tires divided its gut,
forcing its greyish heart out into air between long incisors,
its intestines coiling like a deposed tapeworm from its anus.

I hauled to a stop, the hem of my red slicker
gnawed by the gears, rubberized fabric stretched by metal teeth
I fought against, scraping raw my knuckles. Detached,
I stared at the corpse, spinning my philosophies.
Remains; a relic of something beyond the words.
An image, a scent, and something beyond it.

The rat was there, the rain, the rot, all existed in this town
a few miles from my house, but I cannot prove the fact of it.
I could, I did, prod its burst heart with a bark-stripped twig.
I could, I am trying to, set the moment down in words,
the knuckles on my right hand aching, the lesion
on my third finger leaving yellow traces on the board.


About Bethany W Pope

Bethany W Pope was named by the Huffington Post as ‘one of the five Expat poets to watch in 2016’. Nicholas Lezard, writing for The Guardian, described her latest collection as 'poetry as salvation'.....'This harrowing collection drawn from a youth spent in an orphanage delights in language as a place of private escape.' Bethany has won many literary awards and published several collections of poetry. Her first novel, Masque, was published by Seren in 2016. Her second novel, Ordinary Lives: The Ballad of John and Mary, was published in 2018. Follow her on Twitter @BethanyWPope

Posted on August 7, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: