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A new publication: The Archaeologist’s Daughter was published as a chapbook by Wayleave of Lancaster this April.

ISBN: 978-1-9999728-3-7 Price:£5.00/C$7.50

Here are two poems from the book:

The Archaeologist’s Daughter is in love
(and 20)

her lips graze his lips,
wander his cheekbones
like a camel hair brush
clarifying a tanned fragment
of anonymous,
mummified,
five hundred year old skin
in a dry crypt –

she is conscious of this
as metaphor,
as fact,
but the fragrance of it,
the soft saltiness,
this is all new.

she uses her hand
as a trowel,
scrapes cloth
from the spine knots,
the smooth spider leg curve
of rib after rib.

the pulses trouble her,
the patterns and pauses of breath –
his hollowness
is full of substance,

an artefact of sensation
that tangles her centres of pure thought
with the fine sweetness
of temporary dissolution.

She ponders mortality in the cemetery of a Roman brothel
(on the outskirts of York, England; she is 62)

she is working in a trench
nearly ninety centimetres deep.
it is late fall.
she is wearing fingerless gloves
over the silky white forensic plastic,
a thick wool scarf and balaclava.
her knee pads are already damp.

the site
has been stripped
of the top metre and a half
of subsoil.
it is all mud, half frozen now.
it is cold enough
to snow.

a white cat is hunting a vole
in a clump of dead nettles
under the wheels of a huge
mechanical digger –
this is an image to distract.
she did not think
she could still be so moved.

the foetus is full term,
the skull cradled by a placenta of reddish earth.
now she lays bare the tiny vertebrae,
imagining the tension of bone and tendon
straining for air,
the mother’s jawline frozen
in mid scream –

her granddaughter
brings her
a flask of hot tea.
she cradles it in her hands,
measures
her own joints for new pains.
perhaps this will be her last dig.

© Antony Christie March 2019

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