Creative Writing Ink January Winner

Hot Blood

Peter Branson

I walk this darkening ride; ahead, where bough

meets trunk, cradled, as though preserved till game,

arse-end of fox, stirrup-cup high. Abroad,

dusk-fall, this is no children’s storybook,

tail lacking, scalped at stump; bad medicine,

the caveat fly-blown. The other side,

as though wrapped round some stern, old maiden aunt,

the mask stares down, eyes deep bead-amber pools.

Recall the dancer, stirring dawn’s fierce light

to living flame. Noontide, somebody’s kid,

hot-blood, Punch-proud, has felt that weeping brush

daub cheek and brow, to howl and wild applause.

As I trudge home, outraged, the earth stale crust,

the rusting leaves death-rattle underfoot.