blossombones : summer 2010

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Zoë Brigley


The Jewel-box

Herr K. is to be put in place of your father just as he was in the matter of standing beside your bed. He gave you a jewel-case; so you are to give him your jewel-case.
                                —Sigmund Freud, Case Histories I

I become a closed garden, collapsing castle. Yet hear that!
A knock at my crag: a buzzard’s reach of nesting thatch,
brim of nails, bone or teeth. Remember the rivet grip and
the ram. My lover is a pauper to whom I gift my fingers
as music for speaking and silence; yet I am a soldier.
I do not beg for fleshly talk, a luxurious bed: muscling
in a square room, I bring love. Who is that there raveling in
the closed garden? The ram, who will have my purse, brings
a pearl and a boy knock-knocks at humming piano keys.
My love is the thrum of brown nightingale, for he sings
the bell of me and recalls begging entry. Who shall enter?
Remember the widow: she, of knitting or dam, spindles
at my door. But who will come in? My love knocks at pearl
and purse; yet I am a square room with such long lessons
in my fingers, tokens of paupers. But still a knock-knock
at eagle’s defiance, at a buzzard’s reach. Now will you not come in?
A pauper without, I tap at doorframes and windowpanes.



Love Song for His Mother

He thinks of her as a series of objects,
like the badly fitting glove she left on a bench
in the city park; on returning there was
only that bench and the empty green.

Her language conjured long tailed birds
and there in the beak of the word something bright.
In the front of taxis, she used a hand mirror
first to check her lipstick, then angling it

to catch him in the back seat, or that candle she lit
when the lamp blacked out with all the light in the city;
the key he glimpsed in the bosom of her blouse,
a heavy chunk of metal for box or door.

Even after she was gone, he passed her place each day:
something white in a high window—not a face,
but the white belly of a pigeon beating its wings
against the pane in the boarded up house.


Zoë Brigley is a Celtic writer (grew up in Wales), who now lives in Pennsylvania. She mainly writes poetry, and is the winner of an Eric Gregory Award from The Society of Authors in London. She also won an Academi bursary to fund travel in Central America and the English Association's Poetry Fellows' Award. Her first collection The Secret was published in the UK by Bloodaxe (2007) and it was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation; it was also long-listed for the Dylan Thomas Prize. She writes a blog called The Midnight Heart <>. She co-edited an anthology of women's poetry titled Bluebeard's Wives with the poet Julie Boden, and she has co-edited a collection of academic essays with Sorcha Gunne titled Feminism, Literature and Rape Narratives. She is a visiting lecturer at University of Northampton, UK.