Palimpsest 750 983 Judith Kingston

In which joy and wonder are born out of darkness

The bruises are gone but the ridges of your
fingerprints can never be rubbed off
by other, more gentle hands, never

will I take down the warning signs,
lift the heavy grating down into the tunnels,
closed off due to misuse, no you cannot

be trusted at that depth, your canary
is belly up in the cage I built, it could never
sing anyway, tuneless moth-eaten bird,

the mines are closed but the access roads
are still there and the landscape will always
bear the signs that there were once men

choking on coal dust under the ground
pickaxe in hand, chipping away the sediments
of other forgotten landscapes, knowing that

the pressure of the years will in time,
press the carbon into wedding rings
for other fingers, for clean lungs, for second chances.

Header photograph © Elle Danbury.

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