Claire Dyer



Ways of Falling

Age five and slipping off the blue metal swing out back at 13 Marlyns Drive,
it was a given the soil would be concrete-hard and Copydex’d with dead grass.

The friction of my hands tripping down the chains lifted the scent
of hot offal into the air and made the sound of trains

and landing, I stared up at swing’s A frame, made pictures from its acne of rust as
layers of the earth travelled through my bones until I vomited

them out of my mouth in a shower of magma and stones.
I could not move and was, it seemed, thigh-deep in lava and shingle,

a savoy cabbage planted in my chest with a detonator inside.
I remember counting while waiting for the tingle, for it to explode.

Now I fish in the back room of my house and count and wait.
There is friction and track-rattle and I brace,

but it’s a given each word will struggle and flail. Sometimes
the sun thwacks against their scales, there’s a hint of phosphorescence

and their mouths gasp as I lift them clear, my line hooked hard in their soft fish lips.
I watch them slap the dry grasses, their fish slime drying slowly,

marble eyes watching a Tuesday-blue sky as I count
and wait for them to die. Sometimes sirens sound on London Road

and there’s always a little blood and it me who falls backwards
and the ground cracks daily, the ground cracks daily.




Claire Dyer’s  poetry collection, Eleven  Rooms, is published by Two Rivers Press. Her novels, The Moment and The Perfect Affair, and her short story, Falling  for Gatsby, are published by Quercus. Claire is undertaking an MA in Poetry at Royal Holloway.

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