Christopher North


The phone call was not overheard.
The reporter car wasn't there: no image on plasma.
(but terror in cactus, cabbage whites floating.)

Low roof, patio barbeque, a dog-less kennel
and inside men in grey murmured in a windowless room.
They were miles from the buttercups.

Each page of that issue, a casket of secrets.
Two waited beside a fruit machine, no flight plan logged.
Only pigeons were airborne over the orchard.

Much talk of snakes but none had been seen locally
and the address in Toulouse proved false.
Schoolgirls basked on a grassy knoll.

The dead person was sighted in Rio, a witness confirmed
but the dossier was posted in Bangkok.
The woman in the estanco was known by no-one.

The Los Angeles kitchen, a basement of knives and eyes
and the crucial encounter in a bone-dry wadi,
atmosphere so thick you could halve it with an axe.

That tunnel in Paris proved inviolable concrete
and an hour later there was but one aircraft aloft
amongst the assassin clouds and high swallows.

Watched for hours. No-one left, no-one came.
Then a silent figure passed between doors on the webcam
a long way from the whispering beeches.

Christopher's first collection A Mesh of Wires was short-listed for the Forward prize in 2001. He has since moved to Spain, where he runs poetry workshop courses, and lives with his wife.


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