Broken by Jonny Rodgers

We arrive in the car park
long after the last worshipper has gone.
In undersized wellies and inherited trackies,
I receive an armful of tools
then hover by the boot
like an extra.

Busy with the mower,
he points wordlessly
to an overgrown corner.
I escape his petrol haze
and angry tugs of the starter.

I am utterly unsure,
forearms bristling
at the broadness of the nettle-leaves
that nose around the gravestones
as if trying to glean details of the dead.

The old shears yawn apart,
a sleep of rust
falls on wet grass
and I, inexpertly, set to.

Amid the dark of falling green
sunlight catches dull metal
and I extend my naked arm through the stems.

A torso.
The broken half of a plaster-case Christ
its limbs flung out, flesh disintegrated,
the exposed metal, barbed-wire thin.
The other half, evidently elsewhere.

I am utterly unsure.
But I am certain real life sometimes lacks
the subtlety demanded by fiction,
chucking busted messiahs in your path
or snugging them away among the nettles,
a memory waiting to sting you
for failing to resist its touch.

 

About The Author

Jonny Rodgers is a writer of poetry and short fiction from the Northwest. He completed a doctorate in Contemporary Fiction at the University of Manchester and now teaches in South Manchester. His publications include: Envoi, Stand, Ink, Sweat and Tears, The Morning Star, The Cadaverine, Prole, Janus Literary, Best of Manchester Poets: Volume 2 and 3, and Cake.

reclaim: an anthology of women’s lives

Featuring 18 female-identifying writers, this digital anthology is raising money for Rosa UK, Women’s Aid UK, and WriteGirl, with 100% of all profits going directly to charity.

Cover and interior artwork by Taliha Quadri

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