Hard Frost

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For James Morgan

Riding out, the horse’s head
pre-historic with ice
the shallow world might break —
a glass-implosion,
vacuum-flask tension.
The world’s retinas frozen.

Inside its blazing hush
a willow is an inner ear;
a tinny, distant, dripping
of ice cracking and falling.

Water troughs are caskets of white steel.
Beneath the snub-holes made by sheep
cold forces accumulate until, (almost)
three seals extrude
to juggle silver balls.

A plug of glass tops an open drum.
Crows hunch, comatose,
their motors off, for death’s delayed,
snap-frozen.

The stiff grass crackles
like radar.
Two parrots skim the fence — innocent bullets
or avian warheads.

From a white telephone wire
a robin flips and levitates
to an incandescent poplar.
Legs black-burning
it portrays an apple.

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