Oak, turning Silver Birch when she touched.
Or was it just the silent spill of white
developing the copse in stills of blanched
hoarfrost? Cyan, yellow, magenta, light –
the deep darkness of the shutter click shut
settling her finger forever against the bark.
I am losing my hair to the balding boughs.
The gelatine-silver of temples,
the peeling of animal moult, or plucked crow
stalks the day in tufts of grey to grapple
the fall of night. Not yet, she seemed to smile –
catching when the wind shook. Hand-me-down
to the best fits of infancy. Catch this
in the eye of 16mm. Watch the wing-span
of her palm collect the landscape of my face,
trace the pelt of my brow, tickle the stem.
At three months she felt the earth crust over
the veins beneath the bark of every branching limb.
At three months she knew the snap of broken
lens, and the cool quiet of darkened rooms.
In the light-tight box, a single sedge wren
ruffles the sun. She is crawling the root –
hands down. Touching the torso of ashen skin,
my blood oaked in silver birch.