Daisy Behagg: Footbridge Syndrome

Ale

 

The smell of ale will always be

Dad and Kevin, back from The Lamb

 

with mock-ceramic tankards of takeaway –

me, my sister and my brother

 

taking turns to reach up into the warm

hops-and-man smell, the rough

 

of their beards on our cheeks

as we kissed them goodnight.

 

 

 

 

Footbridge Syndrome

 

I must’ve held it the entire

journey here. Now,

crossing the footbridge

its shape registers in my hand –

 

its small weight and smoothness;

the lurch of its importance.

I take the phone from my pocket

with an indrawn breath –

 

held – and throw, whole-bodied –

almost leap – watch breathlessly

its curved, perfect fall

through sunlight,

 

as the scientist watches

an absolute truth being proven –

the screen lights up, its last word,

I imagine, Home

 

before it breaks the surface

of the canal – not landing

– rather beginning another,

slower fall through the dark.

 

 

 

 

Ivy

 

Limestone has a longer memory

than brick. You can tell

where the ivy used to be

 

by the lines

down the house’s face,

the darker patches like scar tissue

 

where pulling it away

has just shown the damage done –

how deep it sent its roots, for how long.

 

 

 

 

Tattoo

 

I take the black marks on my sheet for shoe prints

until I see the pattern – tribal, dream-like –

and remember the new tattoo down his arm,

still inflamed that last night, the ink fresh in his skin,

pressed to the sheet by the weight of me

and the valium, that always made him sweat in his sleep.

The prints are faded, the curves of them overlapping

from his fretful movement through the night –

each one’s pattern flawing the other.

I leave the sheet on the bed, lie down with them.

 

 

 

 

 The Hanging Gardens

 

It seems impossible:

a park in the middle of the air,

 

industrial sprawl below,

and you, suspended –

 

the last brilliant November sun

turned slow gold in the sky,

 

and on the faces of terraced houses

that curl in unexpected whorls

 

visible only from this height;

or that climb, parallel, up hills

 

so implausibly steep, it seems

at each apex

 

you’d step off into air.

 

 

 

 

Ghost-Ivy

 

They’ve stopped work

on the ivy-scarred terrace by my house –

the eaten-in shape of the vine

is pasted over.

 

Without its ghost-roots

the house looks strangely blind.

It faces me, like the year’s

lack of summer – a blank.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Daisy Behagg has previously had poems published in The RialtoPoetry Wales, The North and Ambit, and has poems forthcoming in The Warwick Review and Poetry Salzburg Review. Last year one of Daisy’s poems was highly commended in the Bridport Prize judged by Gwyneth Lewis and another was runner up in the Edwin Morgan Prize judged by Don Paterson.

 

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  1. […] who are real poets: Rebecca Gethin, Aki Schilz, Lucy Sixsmith, Hazel Hammond and last but not least Daisy Behagg, who has just won the Bridport poetry prize. We’ll be hearing more of Daisy, who is working […]



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