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

Bandit Fiction is an entirely not-for-profit organisation ran by passionate volunteers. We do our best to keep costs low, but we rely on the support of our readers and followers to be able to do what we do. The best way to support us is by purchasing one of our back issues. All issues are ‘pay what you want’, and all money goes directly towards paying operational costs.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: