Jay G Ying
A colony of water rails skulk past the same common
reeds of our house. I recall War’s fingers taking it: one
empty egg War clutched whenever our coast shrugged
off its sawed yellow sedge; I could feel that water margin
grow cold on me like a second skin. Singed splinters out
of sight, ash on the lens of War’s new black camera,
ornamental lintel stele floated face down, as the debris
hummed just above the river’s surface like a drone of gnats.
Unseen, we pocketed the warped bullet shells smoking
in the rushes. But in my mind was there that drop of a
second body falling from the cliffs in the background
of that long exposure shot, the thud as someone hit
the sand, blood in the water. Long hair choked in mud
developed only in the blurry negative of a photograph.
I believed that distance must be the margin there: white
space which closes up, one character stamped down whose
name I did not know was so nearby, and another body—
was this one mine? A red beak where War’s nose should be
as War’s head turns slowly in the inky water to face me now.
JAY G YING is a writer based in Edinburgh. His debut pamphlet Wedding Beasts was published by Bitter Melon in 2019. He is a contributing editor at The White Review.