by Jake Reynolds

On the flit of hazel dormice
tripping through boscage,

a chaffinch chirping in maddening circles
between the calligraphic twigs,

a wrens’ bingo hall with trinket wins
and a brief presentation on the history
of shoots and shrubbery,

a day off for the heat
close as an itch,

coals in woodpecker holes marked To Let
to bats: barbastelle, noctule, and Natterer’s
swooping outside heated houses
their frank confusion at the glow
of the city, almost nuclear in its persistence,

comma butterflies drawing breath
like me in my cold bed
and recently alone, the buttercup brimstone
stuttering like a rusty engine’s heart

pawed at by a natterjack toad,
its skin raw on bramble
like the children taught to disgust themselves
and scared of their glans

the token oak fenced off and made of plastic
much to the sorrow of squirrels,

newts fossilised in the time it takes
to parallel park a Nissan Micra
with headlights beady as a frog,

the heart of the otter lost in the holt,

the hedgehog returning revamped
with barbs of steel
skewering black rain
feeling for the first time unreal

In response to Fossil Free UEA campaigns and advance support for The People’s March for Climate, Justice and Jobs – Sunday, 29th November, London.

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