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FRANK WESTCOTT

* THE MUSIC POET *

*This poem was a finalist, Short Listed, in the Gwendolyn MacEwen Poetry Competition 2014, and in May 2016, it was published in ELQ 39:4 [Exile the Literary Quarterly]

Copyright Frank Westcott, 2014. All rights reserved & all that legal stuff.

*

AND SHE LAY HERSELF DOWN

*

And she lay herself down on the bear rug ~ her blonde hair golden soft

flowing over her shoulders ~ reaching down her back ~ where flames

on panes ~ warmed her ~ and she slid over towards the heat ~ so he could

feel her warm ~ on his cold skin ~ where the cold had frozen him solid

and the raven ~ had pecked his eye out ~ as he stared ~ through the

snow

through the night ~ towards the river ~ deep ~ and frozen and flowing

under the ice ~ where he had cut a hole ~ for a stray ~ to ~ drink

openly ~ beside the food ~ he left ~ by the rock ~ white ~ and round ~

and ~ marbled ~ where he liked to sit ~ in the morning ~ when the sun

was up and the dew on the ~ grass ~ in the morning before the birds


were up ~ and on the water ~ and it was cool ~ and the dew cooled ~

his toes ~ when he walked ~ on the grass ~ scooping ~ his hand ~ into

blades ~ green ~ sliding water ~ onto his knees ~ bare ~ and his thighs

and shins ~ where he could feel ~ too ~ the cool rising ~ from the ~

morning ~ easing into himself ~ awakening him ~ as she lay ~ against

him

now ~ like that ~ She thought these things ~ remembering how ~ he ran

through the trees ~ that first day ~ she came ~ to ~ the ~ cabin ~ and ~

he threw ~ his arms ~ around her ~ hugging ~her ~ to ~ him ~ and

gently caressing ~ the small ~ of her back ~ where naked now ~ she felt

heat enveloping her ~ warming her ~ from the fire ~ the soft brown tuft

on

her ~ where he entered ~ her ~ on the sand ~ and between her legs and ~

the rocks ~ lapping water ~ cleansing them ~ her ~ him ~ the rocks ~ as

he ~ she ~ they ~ knew forever ~ he was hers ~ she his ~ because they

knew ~ they ~ had always been ~ that ~ they would now be ~ for sure

because ~ he was dead ~ “Oh ~ ~ you silly fool ~ ” she said ~ cuddling


close ~ against his leg ~ and more ~ stiff ~ not thawing ~ or coming ~

alive ~ He could not see ~ anyway ~ without ~ his eye ~ the raven ate

and let drool ~ down ~ his cheek ~ onto his neck ~ and chin ~ chest ~

freezing ~ with the rest of him ~ on the woodpile ~ sitting up ~ straight

under

the fans ~ of spruce ~ sticky ~ with sap ~ running ~ down ~ too ~ like

his eye ~ when the flames got hot ~ but it was winter ~ now ~ and not ~

summer ~ when ~ he could see ~ because he had ~ both ~ eyes ~ and he

was alive ~ and summer sun ~ shone deep ~ deeper ~ into him ~ and her

and rocks lapping water ~ on her insides ~ and back ~ and back into the

water ~ listening

and glistening ~ and you could not freeze ~ no matter where ~ you sat ~

or the water lapped ~ and you did not need a woodpile ~ to burn from ~

and when ~ the woodpile was low ~ because ~ it had not been built up ~

again ~for winter ~ coming ~ when it would freeze ~ and you ~ could ~

freeze too ~ and have the raven ~ peck ~ your eye ~ out ~ when the ~

woodpecker

cracked at suet high ~ high on a tray ~ under fans of spruce ~ clear ~

and high ~ over woodpiles ~ brown ~ in the summer ~ where white ~

fence posts near the drive ~ lived ~ and where she could not ~ drive ~

now ~ because it was winter ~ and snow was piled ~ high ~ there ~

except ~ where the post ~ poked ~ through ~ because he ~ wanted the

post

clear ~ always ~ for the bird ~ because the bird ~ would need food ~ in

its winter ~ he said ~ near ~ the water ~ one day ~ when ~ they ~were

sitting ~ It was summer ~ and they were young ~ and among ~ cattails ~

watching ~ dragonflies ~ flit ~ on ~ top ~ of ~ each ~ other ~ as ~ they

had been ~ ~ “ I love you ~ I love you ~ ” he had said ~ “ You are my ~

world’s

balance point ~ fulcrum ~ centre ~ ~ “I know ~ ” she had said ~ “ I

know ~ When you are writing ~ ” she went on ~ “you are centred ~

without me ~ alone ~ by yourself ~ with your words ~ hold me close ~”

she had said then ~ and she had said ~ enough ~ just enough ~ for him

to know ~ he knew and she knew ~ without words ~ but heart ~ where

the

fire flickered humming bird wings ~ She pulled him close ~ against her

She stroked him ~ there ~ between ~ his legs ~ where ~ she knew him

only ~ and ~ the ~ raven ~ had not ~ pecked ~ or eaten ~ him ~ and ~

where ~ she ~ still and still ~ loved him ~ where he was in her ~ ~

growing ~ where he did not know ~ he ~ was ~but she had ~ him ~ in

her

~ kept ~ quiet ~ and silent ~ because ~ he had laughed ~ and cried ~ and

cried more ~ when she lost the other baby ~ the baby ~ before ~ this one

~ once ~ when she miss ~ carried ~ and had to tell him ~ she wasn’t ~

pregnant ~ any ~ more ~ anymore ~ and the baby was dead ~ in her ~

She could not tell him ~ this ~ again ~ this time ~ until she knew ~ for

sure it

would live ~ but it was toolate ~ now ~ and she knew ~ she could not

tell him ~ because he was dead ~ this time ~ and against her ~ on ~ her

bear rug ~ naked ~ beside her ~ with his eye pecked out ~ so he couldn’t

see ~ if he wanted to ~ away ~ and a way ~ because his heart had

stopped beating ~ and he was starting to smell ~ and she kissed him ~

on the lips

and on the eye hole ~ and held him ~ one ~ more ~ time ~ and pressed

her belly ~ to his ~ so he could ~ if he could ~ but he couldn’t ~ feel him

in her ~ his seed ~ and she knew ~ it was time ~ time to rise ~ to dress

and ~ roll ~ her bear rug ~ around him ~ and bind him ~ forever to her ~

in this way ~ to carry him ~ on the sleigh ~ to pull him ~ with the stray

and

~ set him free ~ on the woodpile ~ and burn him ~ so he would not ~

could not ~ smell ~ any more ~ and he ~ would not ~ have to look ~

out ~ from his eye ~ that could not ~ see ~ for him ~ any longer ~

He was dead and the raven had pecked it out ~ He did not need ~ it

anyway ~ being frozen ~ and not hers any more ~ anymore ~

except

inside her ~ and ~ she pulled him ~ through the snow ~ to the ~

woodpile ~ where she lit him ~ and she heard his hair sizzle ~ and

she watched ~ and cried ~ and held herself ~ and he turned black ~

curling the wood around him ~ and his smell ~ and his skin came

together ~ like bark ~ into one with the air ~ and the night ~ and the

snowfall

falling gently ~ in big flakes ~ around him ~ them ~ quarters dropping ~

from ~ the sky ~ and he burned in the snow and the air ~ now ~ and she

breathed him ~ into her ~ deeply ~ through her mouth ~ and her nose ~

and felt him ~ swelling in her ~ where the baby grew ~ until a breeze ~

took him away ~ and then whiffed him back ~ again ~ cooler ~ and she

heard

a whip-crack ~ in a log ~ splitting itself ~ under him ~ and she ~ waited

~ waited ~ waited~ and dawn came ~ and he was gone ~ and ~ she ~

could not smell him ~ except on her clothes ~ with the smoke ~ and she

shoveled him ~ into a pile ~ with the leftover wood ~ and she took him

~ to the hill ~ where grass ~ did not grow well ~ or under fences ~ and

where

foxes lived ~ in summer ~ and she set him free ~ in the air ~ and sky ~

and trees ~ and she let him go ~ completely ~ and she took his smell ~

back ~ with her ~ to the cabin ~ where ~ she made coffee ~ and ~

phoned ~ his ~ parents ~ to ~ tell ~ them ~ it ~ was ~ done ~ and ~

that ~ he was in the air ~ and on her too ~ where she held him ~ a little

still

but did not think she did ~ and she told them he was in her too ~ when

she knew inside ~ that he knew too ~ when she heard a dog bark where

there ~ was no dog~ high over the hill ~ in the air ~ where he had gone

~ and she heard another dog bark ~ down by the river ~ where the stray

drank ~ and she told them he was inside her ~ in the baby ~ that would


live ~ and the raven would not come ~ and she hung up the ~ phone ~

and went to his desk ~ roll top ~ and open ~ where his new ~

manuscript ~ lay ~ finished ~ and she teared on the last page ~ where

she read ~ and the wet spread ~ jagging ~ slowly ~ into the white soft

paper he liked ~ for good copies ~ and the woman in the story said ~ ~

“I will

be strong ~ stronger ~ strongest ~ for having known ~ you ~ for you

have had me ~ ”and the man in the story said ~ “You have had me also

~ ” and a dog barked twice on the hill where there was no dog ~ and the

stray drank from the river ~ silently ~ and a raven flew over the hill too

and in the air blowing ~ and falling snow ~ falling still ~ and she knew

it

was her in the story ~ andhim ~ too ~ and also the he she carried inside

~ her ~ part of him ~ and ~ part of her ~ and snow from the air and the

raven’s wingtips danced past her thoughts ~ higher ~ faster ~ higher ~

and faster ~ whipping her ‘round ~ and blood was on her back ~ and a

cry ~ came ~ from between her legs ~ where the cry looked back at her

and

through her wide knees ~ She could see the baby’s grey hands ~ grey

from the water ~ she had carried him in ~ inside her ~ and doctor held

him ~ pink faced ~ above her ~ his penis ~ dangling ~ small and

pointed ~ wanting to pee ~ “… his name ​shall be… Yewell ~ ” she said

~ “ …his father’s name was… ~ ” and she heard a dog bark over

a hill and in the corner ~ where there was no dog ~ and the nurse ~

washed ~ him ~ and she knew he was hers and his ~ theirs ~ and when

she got out ~ she would take him to the cabin ~ on the hill

where a dog barked ~ where there was no dog ~ and she would do it ~

in the morning ~ when the dew was on the grass ~ and the birds were

not on the water yet.

© Frank Westcott 2014.