Marion Oxley: a poem



A Crocodile in Neverland


After Lisa Black’s "Fixed Crocodile". Lisa Black is a New Zealand artist who often combines taxidermied animals with working mechanical parts.

Before I could dream,

beneath the paper bark trees,

a man lit a fire.

I slid down banks of samphire,

spear grass and spider flower.

Under the sway of water lilies

tiptoed along mud of the billabong;

oxbow of meanderings, changed

course, pulled taut in idle thought.

Beneath the creek, a rusting spring;

unwinding backwater of whirring wings,

wandering ducks, bull frogs that sing.

In the air-filtered apartment –

her nature was to fix things.

Broken in the flow of dreams, I sprawl

across a glass-topped coffee table.

Stare into the polished frozen lake;

lacuna of tears. See the key turn

in my strapped, leathered back.

Her brass neck's holding my head up.

Everything needs to go like clockwork.

Geared up. A hinged pair

of butterfly wings swing from a hook,

the chain around her neck.

A fawn in the corner

has a fixed mechanical stare; watches,

back leg sprung, ready and bolted.

The tick tock of tinnitus. In the dark,

a glow. A hand shifts. Wet lips snap shut.

Nostrils close on a curl of smoke.



Marion Oxley lives amongst the flood plains of the Calder Valley in West Yorkshire, England. She was recently shortlisted for the Cheltenham Poetry Festival’s "Wild" Poem Competition and long listed in the Erbacce Poetry Prize. She can be found on Twitter here: @OxleyMarion.