by Ben Parker
Just once, in shame, he refuses;
his turning snags her words on air.
Rock-blue, her pupils bloom.
From his dust she eases him; the scream
unspools like hurried leaves.
Her practised hand unlocks the pine,
the inner tree exhales,
its hidden trunk exposed.
The bole weakens to take him.
His whimper cuts off short
gagged by the clutch of sap;
his lungs strain at the heartwood
as she births him in the tree.
At a touch the bark rolls back
with all the ease of loosened skin.
Ben Parker completed a Creative Writing MA at University of East Anglia, UK in 2008. He now lives and works in Oxford. His poems have been published in a number of places, including Staple, Iota, Neon, Ink Sweat & Tears, Eyewear, and The Cadaverine. For more of his work, please visit his website.