Dots & jabs of light too transient to see – gone before you can attend. When they’ve gone you can see where they were, as that trace too then slides away. They come from every direction & coalesce behind or within, disappearing. Inside the eyelids & early universe. Shadows of debris floating within the eyeball, a balletic disintegration. Trace & cause. Can’t breathe deeply as the world presses down on the chest. Remove & clean filter regularly. Allow to dry fully before replacing. Somewhere there is eggshell, sharp edged, & a growing dampness. Grit & seeds. Ground teeth & sufficient warmth for germination. Good to take stock soon when there is something to take stock with. Then stock of. Stock stuck against the right shoulder, perhaps a brick. Way off in the distance there is a right hand. Beyond the horizon. In. Under. Right handed. Remote. A right mouthful, silt, & stones like teeth. Rubble crumble. Hard core, lime, alkaline & cold. Slimy at the edge. Punched by silence. Right hand waits. Rock forced against the base of the nail, into the palm, knuckles grated & clamped in damage. Can’t change channel.

The right hand cannot move but begins to remember movement from an insight of distance. Clip lead on the dog. Finger the F key, F, E, D. C. Weight of a metal body on the thumb. Sax glint, imagined, speckling the retina, smeared sideways back into a case that closes. Undo a button. Disengage two little wire hooks, loosen the straps. Breathe through ash. Slide the right hand up over the lower curve of the breast, register the weight. Meet nipple with the centre of the forefinger, pause. There was time. All manner of things shall be, where, here, a country rests on the forehead, the bridge of the nose, the cheekbones, & chin. Breathe through a dead cat. What’s right. Bottom hand on the bat. The bowling arm. Grip. Slower ball. A high catch. Click off the bales.  Finger between the lips. Kiss her hair. Drop the plectrum. Right hand plays & points & punches. Not now. Used to sign.

The elements of consciousness approach from different directions riding shock waves that spread out from an epicentre, inwards & outwards, jostle in the ripples, congregate & swarm. Eggs have been broken, rightly or wrongly, sharp shards remain. Something may have hatched out, waiting, still in a state of shock. Breathe through a hoover-bag of dust, a shredded airbed for lungs. Fosfeni. Stars in your eyes. Dislocated bits of colour float past the latest closure. Midsummer dream. Underneath the forest, under the city, under even the oceans, pathways made for Hades. The name comes with the keys of the underworld, Cerberus & a helm of darkness.

Odd to think I used to walk in the sky with only the soles of my shoes touching the earth.

Underground & cryptic. Paralyzed mole mode. Teeth like stones. In the beginning was the worm.

The Earth continues to turn, and speed through the sky. The aftershocks of quakes speak through my speechless mouth. It’s not clear what there is to move. Or move with. I remember I light swinging recently, & underwater scenes from years ago. The earth goddess sits on my face. My various legs stick out in six directions. Coins eat into the flesh.


Peter Hughes was born in Oxford in 1956. He worked in Italy for several years, and  now lives in Norfolk where he runs Oystercatcher Press.  Shearsman published his Selected Poems in 2013,  alongside a volume of responses to his work, An Intuition of the Particular,  edited by Ian Brinton. His latest collection, Allotment Architecture, is published by Reality Street.



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