Do not flinch from the day’s whisper,
the words on the page, the reverberation
of air. Grip them tight in prickling palms
until your eyes weep flowers.
For there are those who would steal names,
wind dead artists in neat flags
in sterile rooms that none may enter.
Draw your pen from stone. Write the day.
In a castle open to the stars,
a girl, neither princess nor servant,
sews a coat of leaves, red and gold,
threaded with earthscent, cries of crows.
She can’t remember why, but knows
that, come morning, she will wrap herself close
in its moist rustling, crown her locks with frost,
and step her shadow through chestnut lanes.
Oz Hardwick is the author of five collections of poetry, most recently The Ringmaster’s Apprentice (Valley Press, 2014), along with a collaborative volume with Amina Alyal, Close as Second Skins (Indigo Dreams, 2015), which was shortlisted in the Best Collaborative Work category for the 2015 Saboteur Awards. Oz lives in North Yorkshire, UK, where he teaches creative writing at at Leeds Trinity University.
These poems are not previously published.