PINK

When the salt lake turns pink
rumours move in the trees, meditate in the ruined church.

When the salt lake turns pink
rumours lock fingers tight as if they’re about to fly.

There are those who need to pray together.
There are those who need to pray alone.

When the salt lake turns pink
I think of Paul who had a planet named after him.

Run a line in the sky between Jupiter and Mars
and it will be up there somewhere, a couple of miles wide.

There are those who need to pray to an unseen God.
There are those who need to pray to an image of God.

When the salt lake turns pink
lightning strikes a wind farm,

the turbines catch fire and wave circles of flames and black smoke
under a pink sky that grumbles and spits.

When the salt lake turns pink
the pink fog does not lift.

At the edge of the lake a girl (called Grace)
dressed in pink, plays a pink violin with a pink bow.

Face painted pink, pink hair, she dissolves into the lake, leaves
only her music, which is pink. Of course it is.

There are people who need to be wanted.
In return for belonging, they will kill and maim.

Into the basement, five-thirty a.m.
Soldiers without uniforms. House to house.

Everything is normal, nothing is unusual.
A pink day that wheezes and splutters along.

I miss the sound of pink sea-birds
on the pink cliffs beneath the pink lighthouse

where rumours gather fragments of sound
and where the shadows of those you loved fade.

When the salt lake turns pink
imagine a bridge at the thin end of the lake. It will be pink.

When the salt lake turns pink
a man who can’t tell pink from green or brown

clears ground, levels it, so he can put a chair
by the grave of his wife.

I think of him as I rake loose grass from the mown field,
clear groundsel from pumpkins and courgettes, dig out thistles.

The last minutes, the last seconds.
I suppose with luck you just let them happen.

In the long grass of the old hen pen, a marbled white
and two bees busy on a clump of ragwort gone pink.

When the salt lake turns pink
the water’s too thick to take a boat out.

When the salt lake turns pink
a person who likes to preach says

If we begin to connect, we begin to care.
If we begin to care, we begin to love.

I doubt it somehow.
People we never saw still disappear.

I think of Paul who is dead now.
I knew him when we were young.

When the salt lake turns pink
we walk on the edge, as we must,

where pink waves weaken and where rumours
move in the trees, meditate in the ruined church,

where the planet named after Paul
is somewhere between Jupiter and Mars.


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