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3 poems

Freddie Bettles-Lake

Mellstock Road

Two children from an old photo
crowd an empty corridor
and stop at a hand
taking a cup of tea
to trembling lips.

In the kitchen
ants reap the human harvest,
carrying crumbs like boulders
across the floor
while the hand
that once held a rivet gun
tight in a man’s glove
spills the tea.


Pushing up the pavement
roots that remember an orchard
blossoming in the darkness.

Windfalls onto cracked
and loose stepping stones
grey in the orange night.

Northshore Castle

The wrong man falls backwards
into a swimming pool.

On the green lawn, spread or standing
couples whisper under the laughter;
a cupped hand around an ear.

A cry rings out over the
ting of champagne glasses,
heads turn and words are left half said
sinking like dropped stones.

In red and gold women stand
lining the arched staircase and the band
play a song from the future, under a gazebo.
From the crowd a familiar face appears,
the face of a child with a limp
and a young man frozen in the ocean.

He turns away at the touch of a hand
and the smile is gone

but the name means something.
The hard G carried on the Mauretania from Europe,
landed on the shores of Long Island.

This garden is a place you can change a Z
to an S, and send ancestors back up the Sound in a

And in the garden, cries and colours.
And the cry is a cracked bell tolling
and the man falling backwards
into a swimming pool, a red mushroom cloud
following him down.

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