This poem is taken from Stand 217, 16(1) March - April 2018.

Laura Tansley Two Poems
Bird photography

She takes time and light, traps them in wings. Don’t move, hold still, she says, even though this jay is calm, hollow bones splayed in frozen airless flight. Bound to her subject, holding stillness in a frame, the thread anklet worn by a mindful magpie is tethered to the two-dimensional subject she has seduced and is holding, still. Aroused by captivity, disturbed by authenticity, studio abstractions become printed problems: she knows she’s a contradiction, a cloacal fuse of finches perched on the outstretched fingers of Disney princesses, and her preying dilated gaze

This summer I thought I had dysgeusia

For two febrile days milk tasted sour,
with sultry bacteria, slick with tang and dandelion-bitter
and I thought well our relationship is over I’ll have to drink soya

mangle the sap from stonefruits

Ironic when Russian retaliation for Ukraine-invading sanctions means in 2016 there’s a glut as we all BYO to the tea party

But on the second day cool air had collided with a piss-warm front
upwelling the atmosphere and by then it was mass hysteria

Everyone had caught the taste and we knew we were cursed

Milk had turned
curdling in cartons
breeding in breasts from liquid to solid to the metals in our blood

as a squall of thunder declared witchcraft
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