Whittle

 
Photo by Melissa Reid

Photo by Melissa Reid

Edges of teapots and fruit dishes
made presentable.
I mothered bluebirds from lifeless liquid.
From cast moulds cream necks stemmed, a wing,
two eyes, clay skeletons firing in the kiln.
Many would fold, cleft beaks, bubbles in the spine,
children I buried with the wastage;
some lived to be glazed in a frost-blue coat.

I fettle, work words.
Shaving, replacing, whittling away
at the bone, back bent, I peel the bark
of tree stumps, thread smoke through the needle eye.
Picking wild oats with dirt tracks on my palms
I weed the changes in me out.
The moth floating dead in the glass like a star,
a golden cross when the sun comes.
Some lines leap, some die, lungs full of ink.

But here I place the bluebird, a solitary tack
on a corkboard, and its wings flutter a little between blinks.
It whispers will you remember me tomorrow?
I ask the same of my flock of broken loves,
blueprints stained with coffee and dust.
These are the measurements, incisions.
These are beginnings and ends,
stacked lines, trimmings of trying.


David Ross Linklater is currently studying an MLitt in Creative Writing at the University of Glasgow. He says: 'I’m 26 years old, from the Highlands but reside in Glasgow. My poems have appeared in Glasgow Review of Books, Ink, Sweat & Tears, Ofi Press and The High Flight, amongst others. I am the recipient of a Donald Dewar Arts Award and was shortlisted for a New Writers Award in 2015.'