Fall/Winter 2015-2016

Josephine Dickinson

brachiopod/angiopod/deep sea letter/

Pointed at the base, dent-
ed on top like a heart or, reversed,
the negative of a rocky planet,
chalky in its holes,
as if the mason’s hammer had worked
or like the stones worked for the chapel
later dismantled and used to build a church,
chipped, solved, cleared,
as it floated and sucked in air,
at the first crack released
cells rehearsed,

Self-created, co-created, two ent-
ities, copy of each, the nothingness
that was always there,
hold a speckled print
of a brachiopod, hold
a speckled sea-creature’s print,
scooped out of the core of a sphere of flint
which grew around a decomposing body,
which grew, respecting the knobbly
boundaries of a flaky reservoir,
a slippery bobbled surface,
bubbling with putrefaction
as flinty matter grew around,
as the pre-flint matter bunched
me in, suddenly enclosed me,
cinched and suddenly swamped
me and now is cracked in half, split
through the middle where I flooded out,
subsequently worn, smoothed, flecked, flaked,
chalked, zagged, to invite the stroke
of a thumb on its bubbled interior,
gorged on darkness, life dissolved
in the air, gradually sealed
as a gasp in stone, a

Cup with many runlets, font,
seed grinding stone, quern,
that rocks on its smooth white underbelly,
fits in the knuckles,
nestles in the thumb bed,
button, ear, paint pot
with dibble pocks,
icon in its niche,
an O.
Whatever it holds it yields,
has held and yielded so long
it has hardened its holding
into stone, has waited with want,
baptismal font, 
a digit, a letter,
a cypher.

Josephine Dickinson has published four collections of poetry: Scarberry Hill (The Rialto, 2001), The Voice (Flambard, 2003), Silence Fell (Houghton Mifflin, 2007) and Night Journey (Flambard, 2008). She lives on a small hill farm in Cumbria



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