The plane tree leaves are reincarnated toads.
Look how they croak under a ballast
of snow, how they cannot tolerate
a weight of rain heavier than grief
or love or lust or any human thing.
Look how they curl into boats
at the sight of birds, as if the beaks
pecking away at their hulls
might reveal some secret innocent
and slippery as a tadpole.

4.22pm, December 5th

The night is unboxing itself.
Out comes a grey cloud
doubling up as a murmuration of starlings.
Out comes the last of the blue,
muddy as brushwater, above the cathedral’s polished scalp.

The commuters at the bus stop
tremble like fearful dogs
at the uncertainty of the hours.

Buses bark away the cold,
struggle to shake off the animals
attached their mammoth bodies.

We are all caught between ages,
I imagine, feeling my legs
stiffen like a prehistoric beast
caught in a tar pit.

D A Angelo

Shortlisted for the 2023 Manchester Poetry Prize, D A Angelo is a UK-based poet with work in Eclectica Magazine, Free the Verse, Autumn Sky Poetry Daily, Sage Cigarettes, Flights of the Dragonfly and Petrichor Mag. New work is forthcoming in SurVision and SUNHOUSE Literary.

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