Steve Xerri: a poem



Wayfinding i under yellowing branches of birch, in my shirtsleeves, with a glass of red & a book whose verses feel transposed out of & back into the same language with no attempt to hide the slight pull in the beautiful restitched skin, the patched meaning I read half in envy, half wary of being quietly beguiled from the real into an exitless world of transformation – & sure enough it starts, with the wriggle of a motile comma – no wait – it's a living speck, a thrip impelled to wander across my page on a path angled to the line-count, pattering on feet the human eye can't spot over boundaries between the black stems & empty counters of letterforms insouciant or (for all I know) terrified for its life, so I wait for it to find a clear margin, then the paper's edge, then I shake it free ii later as sleep presses closed my eyelids comes a replay of miles of glinting fences, wire staves dotted with the soundless notes of hawthorn buds witnessed from John's car as it tears along the lanes one spring in southern downland: then we slide under the filmic dazzle of sunlight-treebough-sunlight & I'm winding down the window to chuck out a nibbled core into the streaking green wondering if some years later we might consult his head map of the county, rewind to this same stretch & pinpoint a rogue apple sapling reverting from its cultivar straight & tall among the jack-by-the-hedge

Steve Xerri was Canterbury Festival Poet of the Year 2017 and has appeared in numerous print and online magazines including Atrium, Brittle Star, The Clearing, Fortnightly Review, Ink Sweat and Tears, The Interpreter’s House, Ó Bhéal 5 Words Anthology, The Poetry Shed, Poetry Society Newsletter (Members’ Poems), Raceme, Sentinel Literary Quarterly and Stride Magazine. His first pamphlet Mutter/Land was recently published by Oystercatcher Press. You can find him here: https://stevexerripoetry.co.uk.