Sixteen teeth, set
in a lurid, iron smile.
Chained to the earth, anchored
into black soil, nonetheless
its everyday, simple grin sustains itself.
Its mouth spills feathers.
White bones tumble from it
one upon another: numberless
but laid like runes across the ground.
The great jaw of the badger, skull of the grouse,
an endless filigree of weasels. Yearly
it raises cairns that honour
no more than its own eternal memory.
You tend it with utmost care. Intimately prime as your father did
its double jagged sickles and its tight-sprung mouth, arrange
its hidden ribbon of links. Then turn for home, moving
heavily downward into sleep.
Only to dream of iron laughter shouting in the wood
and the spare, insatiable gaze
that will see your own flesh folded in the earth
and then will sit back patient, waiting;
grinning till the wandered, bone-white stars begin to fall.