today                                                      the leaves cry

              three thousand


              green tears

              for the leached out sky


                                                               the sun burns


at a breathless fog                              that winds itself


              until it becomes a shroud


around the trunk

       of a dead man


seeps and pools               spools

                                                        like blood


in the hollows

of his wounds


they found him

                                                    early and half buried

              hooded and tied


              dispatched with five freshly

              scabbed over

       gunshot wounds


one in the head

   one in each limb

                 at the joint


              Constable Hughes met her

face at the front door

              removed his hat


                     brushed away the sweat

       she wept


                     out in the garden

                     the young boy swung

                 at the end of a rope


his shouts                                              hung on branches


                 and in the house crying


heart-sore                         ripped bare                     sighs


                  words swept away


       by the wind

Nigel McLoughlin


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1A Chinese Woodcut

Books by Nigel McLoughlin