Three poems by Jenny Lewis:



my face
is changing again

I caught it in a different light

the flaky grey
of ocean-going

my face has turned
to someone else’s

inside the inside
of the ocean, fish are hanging

they sway, silent
not even a rattle of bones

and the dead stir in us too,
coming as they do from the weight
of darkness

they want our breath

want to tunnel out of us,
force apart our gullets,
appear stark-white

and raving at daylight
one more moment
they plead
just one more

From Fathom, Oxford Poets Carcanet, 2007


for Pedro Bosch


this is the place where broken
things come to rest from their brokenness
they can’t get the taste of terracotta
out of their mouths

they know they came from mud –
only yesterday
they were a substance
to be walked on

now their bridles, wings, trunks
hold unexplained shadows

the moon
eyes the world from their jagged holes

above them, peacocks roost in the trees –
Neem, Arjuna and the Banyan

under which Krishna sat
scooping butter

the bark’s twisted textures
are ropes going into the earth

resting before the spring burst
of growth, green after green

reaching for the sky with its
shattering light.

 First published in Mascara Literary Review, 2012

Song for Inanna/ Ishtar

Your eyes, the twin rivers
Tigris and Euphrates,
two great flocks winding through the night
mirrored by star-fields.

Capriciously, you dispose of your lovers –
the gardener, the water-carrier, the leopard-headed king.
You indulged him a full year until he was led
uncomplaining to the edge of the furrow.

Your breath smells of hooves and spit.
Your body emits the shimmer of bulls.
The grain of your groin is horned and cloven.
When you open your legs
your vastness swallows us whole.

From Singing for Inanna, Mulfran Press, 2014