This poem is taken from Stand 223, 17(3) September - November 2019.

Alice Tarbuck Poem
Bone Picking Season

It is a hopeless and unhomely thing,
to bump your antlers on every lintel, when everyone wants
your moon-water-smile. Out in the woods – the car-park,
the foreshore, the oily water of the estuary – they feel more comfortable,
like a shout loosed from the throat, like stilts or swords
or a rock that fits tight in your fist.

Deer antlers are made of true bone that is fed by a covering of velvet,
green willow dialectic of soft-hot-fragile and cold-hard-quick.
Beam, palm, brow, bez, trez, royal, surroyal;
the main shaft, flattened center,
then the tines that tell you
how big                how good        how important
what’s wanted is the highest possible crowning.

Everything’s fucked:
harvest, the water line, the patchworked air,
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