Suzannah Evans

Suzannah Evans

How we miss them

For Kate Fox

We loved to watch them from above
in their high-speed lives
their small, soft-covered heads
their strange vehicles
and yes there’s more birdsong now
we love that, always have

but it’s not the thrilling shove
of dance-pop from a window
or the hollow-plucked heart
of the busker with his cap laid out
We keep the earth-lick coins
the sharp shapes of their broken things

their tiny inscribed papers
in the hollows between our roots
those evergreen carrier bags
that dress the shrubs
and flap to shreds in winter
We have no place of remembrance

The saplings these days
don’t remember tarmac
or those revolution weeks
when we first split the roads
fingered our way
into culverted streams and drank

There’s nothing of theirs
we can’t break, given a century
but we miss the way they’d sit
in summer, their delicate backs
hunched against ours, sweet
warm lungfuls emptying upwards

we send our roots as deep as they’ll go
for the last of them
feel around their paperdust
taste the sweat of deep-grown fungus
the salt they left us.

SUZANNAH EVANS lives in Sheffield and her pamphlet Confusion Species was a winner in the Poetry Business Book and Pamphlet Competition in 2012. Her debut collection of poetry Near Future was published by Nine Arches Press in 2018.