Wednesday, April 30, 2008

NaPo 08: 30 April


And on the last day -
peace; saplings reach for white clouds
mushrooming the sky.

NaPo 08: 29 April

Marjorie's Mother

Marjorie's mother had a wish
to see her daughter eat a dish
of tasty capercaillie stew
she'd made from beaks and morning dew.

Marjorie's mother had a need
to send her daughter out to see
if Mrs. Griff had scrubbed her step
and scrubbed her windows while they slept.

Marjorie's mother had a want
to make her daughter's car a front
for dealing pasties and cream puffs
to Madame Lightly's weight-loss club.

Marjorie's mother took a dare
to cut her daughter's long blond hair
and make it spiky, pink and mauve:
a special treat done as she dozed.

Marjorie's mother clasped the chisel
her daughter rammed into her navel -
thus ends the tale of Marjorie's mother
who never knew when not to bother.

NaPo 08: 28 April

Onas 28 Berk

I crost a manch at sefan dibes
and tropped the bead mahoo to slurt
the spulging tromp; she praxed in furt
for gribbing tanes aspatanglibes:
whoe shupped the gripter's lanefloss drub
id wappanmash and libersty?
Grufant glaps win troglass clee
roe daval's mag in lurben slub.

An nery bead drubs mickloss tave
whit jappas gliever drubs na lon
to maklass quandram fon belass -
a spluggas tom Havattasmave
is nally's whit. Nos pallason
grimp aman tom, nos emmer's dass.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

NaPo 08: 27 April

Julain: Float

She lets the sunlight warm her toes, and beak,
and rocks as boat-wakes lap around her shape:
the river's last embrace - she can't escape.

NaPo 08: 26 April


He picks at his coat as he waits,
each loose thread an irritation.

Such tall ceilings could swallow
a man's courage, should he dare to look.

They come as a full dozen, a coiffure
of coconuts sat in their carved box.

Lead powders used to keep the lice
doused in the confines of their wig.

Echoes. Everybody echoes. Lies
echo just as loudly as truths.

There is no judgment, just an arrangement
of lint across the weave of his cloth.

NaPo 08: 25 April


Can you hear the dogs?
Each unleashed howl
a cry to the storms
seeded in spin?
My love, slake this fear
that will not sleep.

Let's sleep
with dogs,
no fear
of howls
to spin
our storms.

It takes an anvil to shape the storm,
levering the puffy clouds of sleep
and hoisting them high to the voids, where spin
can shape their wetness, ice them into dogs
or toads, or castles, or gods who howl
cascades of electrifried molecules - such fear!

Why do we fear
the clout of our storms?
I can show you how
to devour change, rout sleep
as we snout like dogs
gouged by the pain of the spin.

I spin
in fear
of dogs
that storm
my sleep:
I howl!

Now we have thrust our howls
through the sweat of pain and spin
we can relax in each other, let sleep
blunt the edge of our fears:
we are the storms;
we are, my love, the dogs.

Dogs howl;
storms spin:
fear sleeps.

NaPo 08: 24 April

Snowdrop 10.2: Gran's Cottage

"This is my home: the bricks and slates are where
I know I left them. Someone's parked a jeep
where compost heaps should slump and steam and steep -
who's washed the gutters, fixed the roof? Who's dared
to steal the shittery? Has Gran gone nuts?
She can't have sold the place! I'm gone two days
is all and now she's had the windows glazed!
What is this fresh madness? The doors are shut
and locked - she never bolts the cottage: who
would want to steal our scraps? It's not enough
that I should have delusions haunt my head
and hunt my flesh; with daylight comes a new
nightmare. I need to think. I need my stuff -
I need my Gran to tuck me into bed."

NaPo 08: 23 April

Snowdrop 10.1: On the Cusp of the Marshes

No sound but noise: a sonorous whistle
of wind constantly combing stubbles
of straw and reeds, their stripped pipes
playing laments. She pauses on the bridge
that slabs the canal with a concrete path,
crumbling rusts rouging its wounds.

She's cold: she shivers and clutches her hands
to each shoulder, her sharp elbows
pushing beyond the blood-stained cotton
swaddling shroud. She steps from dirt
to tarmac and grit, tightens the sheets
to keep the wind from caressing her skin,
steps over the bridge and onto the road
that loops across the levels to her home.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Peacock butterfly

Peacock butterfly
Originally uploaded by adleyrik
Guess what I saw on my walk today ...

What do you mean, "Why haven't you written a poem in 6 days, Rik?" I'll write them, 'kay! I mean, how difficult can it be to write 6 or 7 poems in one day?


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

NaPo 08: 22 April

In memoriam: Rik's upper right molar

Chattermay, cattermay,
Rik had a painful day
saying farewell to his
ulcerous tooth.

Novocaine jabbed in the
left the lad wanting to
gargle vermouth.

Monday, April 21, 2008

NaPo 08: 21 April

.........3 l-nes on age.........
.......a bed for old folk....... rest -n :: m-dr-ff shr-nk..
.......a bar to the grave.......

(I know, I know: as far as experimental poetry goes, this one is at least a century out of date - but I wanted to try a bit of wordplay and typography stuff in a poem and this is the best experimental piece I've been able to come up with this month. So bite me!)

NaPo 08: 20 April

The Victim

I've had some ghosts
walk through that door,
but as wraiths go,
he was a first.
I gave him a drink
- whiskey, I think -
and asked his name.

"The bone that juts
out of my neck
offers no clues,
Mister Sleuth?
I thought the world
knew the name
of the kin who gave me
the third clavicle."

It was plain to see
the man was bitter
about his murder.
I probed for a while:
the name of his killer;
possible motives;
a corpse to check.

"He didn't even
bury my body -
well not until
that raven came
and showed him how
to hide his crime!"

I lied. I knew
this story, recalled
the hearing of it
on cold Sundays
sat on hard pews.
It made no sense
for him to be here -
the brother was caught
and judged by God
at the start of the book.

"You call that justice,"
the revenant spat,
"me in the dirt
and him to walk it
protected forever
by his precious mark?
When mum lost the farm
we all got to share
the punishment.
But no resurrection
for me, oh no!
I get to be dead
forever more,
and me a virgin
shepherd, too."

I did what I could
for the ghost; I listened
- until a woman
dressed in lipstick
knocked on the door.
It's business, I said
shrugging my shoulder,
the second sin
don't pay the rent.

NaPo 08: 19 April

Things I Love About My Bed

The bole of the headpost has faces
set in the vein of the wood, dryads
set to guard my dreams from harm.

Slats keep my flesh from reaching
into the cavern beneath, and the teeth
of the moths feasting on my carpet.

Atop the mattress slumbers my pallet,
its airfoams alert to the shapes
my bones throw through the night.

I could surround my head with pillows,
helmet my sweating skull with feathers
in cotton, but one is enough for my neck.

Sheets knot my limbs to the frame,
encot me as I sail the breath of the world
seeking unseen the truths in my dream.

NaPo 08: 18 April

Abigail Waits

When Abigail went to find
a place to keep her wandering mind
she searched the world, the caves of hell
and knocked on heaven's gates as well.
She sought a safe and homely place
where she could rest her aging face
and pick the dirt from pleated skin
while keeping track of time and sin
until the resurrection came
to animate her rebuilt frame.

Friday, April 18, 2008

NaPo 08: 17 April

Demolish Dig Design

Each day, a new terrain. These ants
are dirt-yellow, tracked mandibles
biting out the soil, levering hills
and levelling plains, a race to make
a stage, a point of focus - a zone.

Still the channels remain, their paths
within the floodplains destined, ordained
by the laws of gravity. This water
has no timetable beyond the moon,
the embrace of weight to weight.

When the sun's lanced light pitched
through the newfound skull's fragile orbit
scratched from the earth the earth
had spun the sun three thousand times
since the bone's last East End breath.

We shall raise legends in this park -
or so the hoardings tell me, each board
arrayed with its fantastic figure: so much
waste cleared; so many buildings razed;
so many dreams sparked in fresh skulls.

NaPo 08: 16 April


Said the man to the key:
please be true for me.

Said the key to the door:
creak for me once more.

Said the door to the wall:
better catch his fall.

Said the wall to the head:
I'll not be your bed.

Said the head to the floor:
Never drink no more!

Said the floor to the sick:
sticky; smelly; slick.

Said the sick to the cheek:
rest in me a week.

Said the cheek to the man:
please oh please just stand.

Said the man to his legs:
... you're not my legs ...

NaPo 08: 15 April


Red is for the pearl of blood on my fingertip,
blue for the colour of my nails as I squeeze my hands
tight. White is for your face, though your cheeks
are tinged in green. My cheeks are scarlet
from the swirls of swearing my yellow-coated tongue
weaves through the smoky brown airs. "Stick it
in water,"
you tell me. "Wash out the colours
so we can see the bland, numbed truth."
Having dropped
the steely hammer, I spit a kiss on your lips instead.

NaPo 08: 14 April


This dream brings actors to the stairs:
I thank them for their participation.
"This is not a problem," says one,
removing his face to wipe clean his head.
"We are always happy to help birth
a new story."
I muse on their next show,

the designs I could lay on their shapes -
these dolls who command words to perform,
who lead my linear characters from the plot
I have inked out for them. "You know
the way out,"
the faceless one says. I nod:
my presence is not welcome at this party.

NaPo 08: 13 April

King Worm

You said: "we can pop them
round the rim, white on red
like stripes, a pole of surfinas
shaved from the wall."
I pushed
fingers through humus, broke
knots of the earth between
my strapping palms. One clump
wriggled free of my prayer,
looped as it fell into the bowl
soon to be hoist high above
the world - a new lord
for the kingdom of heaven.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

NaPo 08: 12 April


Within the clutter, a clay cat
with daubed blue eyes and dashed whiskers
white against the black of cold fur.

I dust it routinely, knock powder
from between its ears, its paws, the crook
of its tail. It reports on my neglect.

I could break it, sever the connection
of gift and receipt; let fly shelved guilts
and griefs stored in its factory smile.

She is just a string of digits away,
it tells me. Pick up the purring comforter,
hold it to your cheek; click the buttons
and chat to Mother, who gave it me.

NaPo 08: 11 April


I don't see emotions
when I write blue.
I don't feel the dampness
of waves across my instep,
nor taste the sprays
of kicked water, nor hear
the insults, nor shudder
at the touch of the pulsing
plastic bag driven by currents
to wrap its inert tentacle
strips across my knee.
There is no sunny heat
in these tinted images.

Sometimes the pendular tap
of the waves on my ear
can bring tears to finger
their tide across my cheek,
but I don't see emotions
when I write blue.
This shade of indignity
lies hidden in the chord
of melody, the growl
of the throaty trumpet
planted in my chest. I test
each keyboard button
between knuckle snaps,
type the word: blue.

NaPo 08: 10 April

Four poems on footsteps

My first was vast, a dancing kick
heeled towards the dodging ground.

My next was skipped in rubber pumps,
a playground prance: stamp and veer.

I lost them for a while; a line of fire
from arse to calf made each an effort.

Can I trust them? Where once kerbs
tripped me, flesh will tip me down.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

NaPo 08: 9 April

And now for something a little bit different:

The LimerRik

There was an old chicken called Rik
Who sat on his nest with a stick.
Each day he would lay
an egg, which would say
'If you think I'm a poem, you're thick!'

NaPo 08: 8 April

A little late, I know, but this one needed several revisions:

Snowdrop - 9.5: Dawn

The sky is lighter, a scale of clouds
skinning the dome, their scorched edges
announcing the arrival of the ruddy sun
in minutes, seconds ... and Snowdrop kneels
in front of the man. He fumbles for his staff,
struggles to stand; he seems so old
in the weak light of winter's morning,
as old as the hills he inhabits, as old
as the battered pot placed at his feet.

"A copper pot, as green as spring with ropes
of smoke coiled inside its rim - who rests
within its roily depths? Did Mum protest
when shown her final home, did she lose hope?"
Within the cauldron a curl of mist
extends, a probing tendril seeking
space to expand, a place to fix
its form and set ... and Snowdrop watches
it branch and grow, grab at the legs
of its Tally Man, master its fear
of space as it latches to the linen sheet
gathered about the butcher's shoulders.

"I think this pot is full of life already:
look how it seeks the warmth of flesh, as if
it's lost its way - can it taste the air, sniff
the iron knife? And yet it's so unsteady ..."
When he notices the whiskery growth
he moves to snatch the mat on which
he sat away, whipping the stripes
of the ancient pelt over his head -
a hooded shawl ... and Snowdrop holds
a filament of mist in her fingers, a shred
of contact, a thread of thought, a moment.

"... a newborn lamb caught by the height of legs,
or maybe older, a shrivel of life that once
was whole and strong - a giant beast - a god -"
Beyond Snowdrop, the silent man
takes from the pouch tied to his belt
her nadir, its bolster embedded in horn.
Chanting his words, he weaves the tool
over the scalp of his gift: Snowdrop ... ignores him.
In the blank spaces of her brain she seeks
a mould, a length of metal annealed,
a legend of a blade, a bedtime tale,
a key to a kingdom, a crude ikon -
she feels its hilt form in her hand.

"no saintly prince will ride to save me: dregs
is what I am, the pikey girl, the thief. No lance
to spike this mad insanity, no rod -"
As he brings his palm to her brow and pushes
her ear to her shoulder she shakes the weight
of wet metal away from the earth
beneath her. A coldness catches at her neck
- his knife, arrived and ready to notch
her throat. She carves the caliburn
through mud and mist to meet the edge
of the magic pot: it pits the lip,
pauses, presses past the copper
into the cauldron's heart, its heat - and shatters!

Shatter the dawn; shatter
the dream; shatter
the world to the
shapes of

Monday, April 07, 2008

NaPo 08: 7 April

Mixing ghazals and sonnets - should it be made illegal?

Snowdrop 9.4: Invocations

"These loving words you speak are true, my son;
the world demands that I renew the sun."

"I hear you talk, old man, I see your form:
are you the Tallyman? What do you count?"
"I saw the world first born; I saw it cry;
I watched the love of us subdue the sun."

"The tears of fear, the cries of those about
to meet your knife - why do you kill at dawn?"
"Without the golden orb, oblivion;
no love can thrive beyond the jewel sun."

"Perhaps you are an Aztec priest - we learned
of them at school: they killed to tame the sun."
"We drink its energy, we steal its heat;
our need for love makes us imbue the sun."

"They tried to rule their gods, they were undone:
they culled the hearts of thousands - still they burned."
"Our globe of flame is cracked - we've worn it out;
a gift of love through blood will soothe our sun."

"You killed my mother. Now you want my life
to feed your madness - will my blood make mist?"
"Rennaisance keeps us strong - we must proceed;
the pulse of love shall feed the newborn sun."

"Will dogs and monsters feed upon my flesh,
a roast of Snowdrop? Best then take your knife ..."
"There is no pain - my love is sharp and true;
my world demands that you renew the sun."

"... and thrust it deep within my neck and twist
it hard - a miss will end with your defeat!"
"A kneeling supplicant is best, my child;
I'll score your neck - let love soak through the sun!"

Note that this section pushes my line count for the poem over the 2,000 mark. The poem is officially a Monster!

Extra Snowdrop

This doesn't count towards NaPo on the grounds that it's bits of verse nicked from other sections of the poem and reused at this point:

Snowdrop 9.3 - A Son Speaks:

"Look at the man! He sits by the tree
and stares at the moon, chanting a prayer.
In his lap is a knife, its iron blade free
of its sheath of horn. A tiger's hair
covers the leafmould: his torso is bare.
Look at the man, eyes blinded to see
the death of the year, his work to free
the sun from the earth to fly in the air,
to bring new sap to the bud. Now see
the Tallyman chanting his prayer.

"Look at the woman knelt on a bench:
her mustard hair sweeps down in locks,
her golden eyes stare up to clench
the stars in her mind, so soon to stop.
Look at the woman catch her frock
in fists of sinews: her head is wrenched
back to expose her neck. Then shock
as blood cascades from veins to drench
her cotton dress. Now stay and watch
the woman collapse from the block.

"Look at the head of the Tallyman, sat
on his pelt of tiger stripes; the course
of millennia scratched on his face in tracts
of weals and folds circling his jaw.
Look at the head of the man who forced
the woman in white to kneel, then tracked
his knife across her throat, who cracked
her veins to feed a sun reborn
in the morning of the new year. See
the head of the Tallyman, set on his course."

NaPo 08: 6 April

Time to take a break from poor Snowdrop's travails, I think:

Fukyu: Flames

Such a short timespan
from your parabolic birth
to your wordy death.

And yet, such places
visited; deserts and seas
no bar to your path.

People fight to take
you in their palms, hold you high -
flickering applause.

A mastered race sought
to reinvent history:
a strong flame, stolen.

Who stole you first, flame?
The athletes? The worthy great?

You live to perform:
you spark the air for peace, hope
and competition.

You are a false hope,
branded flame, logoed lantern.
Burn free from ring chains!

Burn the sky, the skin
of politicians; blister
the flesh that holds you

captive! Coruscate!
Reach up your tongues to the sun
... unreachable home.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Snowdrop bonus

... I wrote this ghazal snippet ages ago. Rightly, it goes next in the long poem, so I might as well post it here - for completeness, etc.

Snowdrop 9.2: The Chant of Entrapment

"A hook on a line, a temptation, a bean
to lure the unwary. Go fishing, my bean!

"This gift you have brought me - a jewel, a rose:
she'll dance in the moonlight to passionate dreams!

"The greatest of mercies, my thumb on your cheek;
Your scent cuts my sinews, a potion unseen.

"My old hands are cursed with the blood of bright hearts.
The old sun is dead: I must fashion it clean.

"A knife has no purpose - it sits in the hand.
This Tallyman weeps at the gushing red stream."

This brings me up to line 1958 - 42 more lines to break the 2k mark!

NaPo 08: 5 April

Snowdrop 9.1: Procession

For all the feet that have angled their way
to his dell, none have damaged the earth:
there are no paths to this place in the mist.

She feels her torpor in the folds of her bones,
in the cups of her eyes; her ache of steps
furnished in thoughts focussed on - nothing.

A muddy godling guides her to doom
and others follow, an odd collection
of the lost and the damned, living and dead.

Witness the Betsy; the boy who shakes;
the purgat'ry man; the maid of Kent
and her smuggler friend; the soldier, his lad.

The queen's fair still fucks in the woods.
The hunter's dogs still howl and chase.
The corporal still calls to his callous god

in his chapel of mist, and the marshes flood
to capture the Roman captain's ship -
the grand and black Grattack still hunts.

The Peggy has left her pond tonight.
Jack of the Flame jerks as he dances
across the boughs of the bark-built woman.

And Snowdrop is dressed in sheets of white
cinched at the waist by a string of ivy
and crowned with holly - a holy gift

for the Tallyman's knife, a token of life
to bring the heat of a birthing sun
back to a world now bound in ice.

Friday, April 04, 2008

NaPo 08: 4 April

Snowdrop 8.6: The Glamour of the Prophet

Look at her! She fights to be free
from the boy-in-disguise, away from the birth
of her monsterous spawn - the children of trees,
the babies of flames and fluids, all worth
a place in his pot, his Hell-on-Earth.
Look at her fight him: she calls to the sea
but her lover is taken already; she's leased
her belly to the Tallyman now, her girth
a cauldron of magic and time. Now see
how her spawn slither from their birth.

Look at me! I crawled on my knees
into the soils surrounding the Queen
and hid, and grew like a shoot from a pea
as the seasons stopped - a son unseen
in the muds of the Marsh, a being ... between.
Look at me - I live. I breathe!
I can dance in the sun and dive in the sea.
I have furnished the brows of folks with a sheen
of sweat; my pleasure is theirs! Now see
how my conquests surround my Queen.

Look at you! The woman who flew
from her world to a world of deceits
in the mists beneath the Hunter's moon -
will you kill him for us? Will you make his defeat
complete? But the Tallyman, he cheats
too: would you dare, little one, to assume
you can finish what gods and queens couldn't do?
You ate the bean in the broth, the seed
of your demise, your contract - we'll soon
see you bleed to complete our world of deceits.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

NaPo 08: 3 April

Snowdrop 8.5: Shared Bread

The bread in his hand is brown, a hash
of ryes and wheats winnowed in the dark:
a memory of hay harvested by moonlight.
It smells of goodness - a substantial gift
from a different land delivered by a god.

            "Look at the state of you! Did I build you
            just like I built the knife? The shoe? The rocks
            and grass and trees and mad men wearing frocks?
            I doubt that you're as real as mists and dew ..."

He smiles as he sits in the circle, nods
to the hooden troop as he hands the bread
across to the Carter. He keeps his words
to himself, his certainty set in the face
he sets to the gaze of the girl. She smiles.

            "And still you're here - just like the way she spoke
            of you: your hair so dark, your chin so wide,
            your eyes the hue of slates and muds: she lied
            about your death, it seems, sweet man of smoke."

As the bread circles, so the banter soars.
She can see the Betsy belt the rider
as he yanks the mead from the young man's grip.
She doesn't notice. She doesn't care
anymore except for the man before her.

            "She claimed you worked the travelling fairs, a man
            of grease and moments caught in the swirl of rides -
            a sixpence man, a candyfloss of smile
            and kiss and grunt between the lights - she span
            a tale of you, my friend! You pledged her a tide
            of love: you left her flotsam, jetsam, a child."

The Curse of the Long Poem

Snowdrop is a long poem. I reckon I'm about halfway through the poem, maybe edging towards 2/3s done. So in a classic displacement activity (to avoid writing more of the poem) I've been looking at the poem itself. Here are its vital stats:

Started: Dec 2003 - the original Idea was to produce a Crimbo poem of between 150-200 lines about a girl who goes into the woods to find a Crimbo tree and ends up dancing with the spirits of the wood - Puck, the Jenny, cold Jack, Jack the Flame, etc.

Expected completion date: not a clue.

Total number of lines written to date: 1,870, which includes ...
- a rondeau
- 3 triolets
- 3 30 line ballads
- 28 lines of Latin shamelessly lifted from De Rerum Natura
- 23 sonnets, including 14 sonnets woven into a crown
- 705 lines of Alliterative Verse (the Beowulf verse, though I write more in the style of the Gawain Poet - in other words I cheat a bit)

Um, that's quite a bit of poetry, when you think about it.

What with my decision to concentrate purely on the Snowdrop poem during this NaPo adventure, I thought it would be a good idea to read what I've already written - hence the two rewrites of vile portions of the poem posted for 1 and 2 April. The most striking thing about the poem (to me, anyway, at the moment) is just how bloody religious the work is turning out to be.

I mean, how the fuck did that happen?

I've not got a religious bone in my body - thrown out of Sunday School when I was 5 years old - and yet the work that has consumed more of my poetry-writing time over the past 4 years turns out to be a bloody debate about the existence of God.

What the poem needs is a bit more action. I'll see what I can do ...

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

NaPo 08: 2 April

Snowdrop 2.5: Lost

"I've lost my walls! The room has gone along
with heat and ceilings, leaves and mud where once
I had a floor - I've lost the walls! She danced
with flames - the girl with bark for bones - that's wrong:
I'm seeing things awry; I'm dosed on pills
like sweets at Christmas. Close my eyes and stretch
my arms out wide and wait until I touch
the walls with fingertips - oh shit, I'm ill!
My walls have gone: these trees - exist? But how
can this be happening? The air's so cold,
the earth - it's hard like concrete frost, the mist
- it glows? Look up! The moon's still there, still proud
and full. So where's the house? No roof to hold
the night away; my wall's are gone: I'm lost!"

NaPo 08: 1 April

Yes, folks. It's that time of the year again ...

Snowdrop 1.4: The dam in her nest, at bay

She snouts the tin aside - it tumbles
its clanking course across the slopes
that mould her home, her mazy nest,
knocking the rime of newborn ice
from leaf and peel; she pulls a lace
of paper free from its frosted pile,
drags it back to her den within
the layers of waste.
          She watches: younger,
this one, the white of wisdom yet
to tip her pelt. She taps the heaps
with barreled whiskers, braces her feet
on discards and leavings, levers her hips
forward towards the warmth of rot.
She's coming home.
          She hears the crack
of slipping bone above - a cat
perhaps, or stoat come hunting pups.
She snicks her teeth and snags a taste
of mystery - not dog, nor magpie beak.
Her press of belly bullies her on:
pluck out the fur, plaster her hall
with hairs and strips of wholesome compost
before she bursts.
          She finds the bore
that leads her back to blood and milk
each pawstep measured, masked in stealth -
a hunting child, a haunting thief
come looking for siblings soon to be born,
a season's feast.
          She smells her now,
a daughter, once, a demon now
as dead as the mists that mould her form:
she lifts her lip, levels her ears
to her skull and sets the spars of her claws
deep in the walls of her den, and waits.