I took a new path off the mountain
to this ruined croft, and went inside
to find, under the table, the earth floor
seething with ants; on the mantelpiece,
some wire-wool, a box of screws,
a biscuit-tin of human hair
and a urine sample
with my name and date of birth.
In each corner, something else:
five blackthorn pins beside
five elder twigs, freshly cut
and red at both ends, tied up
with ribbons into the shape of a man;
the blade-bone of a sheep; a mackerel
wrapped in today’s paper, one eye
looking up at me
through its greased window;
the lopped head of a roe deer,
its mouth full of electric wire.
The last thing I found
was a photograph of me,
looking slightly younger,
stretched out on a table
very much like this one.

This Issue

June 9, 2005