Secret Papers


Something has splayed
the oak trunk in a dozen knotted tongues.

Nobody heard
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?

Everything conspired.
A singling-out occurred.

from The Sinking Road (Bloodaxe Books, 2008) © Paul Batchelor 2008, used by permission of the author and the publisher

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