Something has splayed
the oak trunk in a dozen knotted tongues.
the sound it made: would its song,
pure air and fire,
have split the ear?
Or might a tree
slip from its bark
as a girl steps from her clothes
to stand, stripped to the skin,
secret papers burnt?
A singling-out occurred.
from The Sinking Road (Bloodaxe Books, 2008) © Paul Batchelor 2008, used by permission of the author and the publisher