This poem is dedicated to my brother, Tim.
Gone to Earth
Finally, one night you slipped in
under my defences,
the chicken wire raised to keep out
foxy dreams – though I had beckoned
before and you had not come.
I found you, in the end, down some
muddy track, fringed with blackberries,
the windows of your car jammed,
each door sealed with gaffer’s tape,
the sort of precision you usually
found it hard to muster.
And all around you the blue
was drawing in and in –
wrapping tighter and tighter,
a tourniquet of darkness blotting
out the braille-point stars over
the mounded belly of Salisbury plain,
until you could no longer believe
it would ever end. Then sometime
past midnight, cocooned in a duvet,
you tipped the reclining seat,
turned on the engine and like
a wounded fox, lay down to die…
oh my brother, that we might
have held, for a moment, those
duplicitous stars in our joint gaze
before somewhere across the damp
morning fields the dawn rose,
as it would have anyway.
from Ghost Station (Salt, 2004), © Sue Hubbard 2004, used by permission of the author