Liz Berry

Liz Berry


In the small towns of dream, 
boys are balancing on cut bridges 
and factory roofs, 
stripping and plunging 
into the black throat of a lock, 
boys stumbling drunk over 
verges, brains whizzing with pills, 
boys with freckles 
and crew cuts, riding bmx’s 
down unlit tracks,
accepting the dare, the fight, 
spitting into the kerb, 
tongues nettled by fags;
boys who believe they can never 
die, that night holds them 
in its fist like a flint.

In the dark they return to me – 
their narrow chests,
and chicken pox scars, 
the way they unzipped and came 
silently as whitlowgrass.
Their hair has grown long. 
I lie them across my lap,
breathing their scent of Lynx 
and spliff, my heart howling 
beneath my breast 
like a lonely wammel,
hold me hold me, sweetheart, 
my teeth chattering 
as the stars whistle 
and they are gone – 
fallen from the night’s trapeze.

cut/canal      wammel/mongrel

LIZ BERRY is the author of Black Country (2014) and The Republic of Motherhood (2018) both from Chatto.