Sunrise In The Corpse Garden

We have named them after fungi: the blusher,
destroying angel, the sickener,
penny bun. I take a swatch of glottal tissue
from penny bun’s throat and suspend it in alcohol;
sun strikes the bottle; flakes of skin turn black as gold.

Stinking irises unjaw at the first fingers
of dawn. Light silvers the swerve of the burn,
blurs the damselflies, sharpens ripe lobes of fungus
between the alder’s cracked grey plates.

Face down at the water’s edge, a body:
one hand trails in the stream, fluid creaming
round its putrid stumps.
The blusher, foetal in the lee of a rotten log,
shields a honey-coloured clump of funeral bells
beside the hollow of her cheek.

Dew shivers on the nub of a steak thermometer
pushed into gooey withers; a bloom of pinmould
winters the sickener’s lips. I take photos while the light is good.
Skipjacks do backflips.

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