Poems

Francine Rochford: ‘Freshwater Mussels’ and ‘John Murphy’s black bitch’

Freshwater Mussels Black half-shells edge out of the grey noisome mud or, Flipped over, show another half to form a ridged whole. Is it a housing only?  Maybe not scraped clean by the feeding hardhead, but a closed coffin anyway? Schrodinger’s mussel, both alive and dead.   The ground sucks at the sides and bottom of my boots; A few times, when I was smaller and my boots awkwardly large— bought oversize against some distant spurt of growth— I left behind one or the other Running to head off a newly calved heifer Or her gangly spawn, Then, perched heron-like…

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