Issue 13

Autumn 2014


. . . And The Contraflow System Glittered

the hour the catalyst showered down, plating
    tarmac, slates and satellite dishes with electrum. 
Pines in plantations straddling glens, Leylandii
    staking suburban gardens, ignited as needles
flared all at once.  Nano-explosions, a trillion
    phosphorus fragments.  Flyovers sparkled.
Concrete car parks wore diamonds.

    A hand had shaken nature’s kaleidoscope;
the film-reel of every genome spliced
    into jump-cuts, the double helix unsprung.
People, too.  Our retinas hardened into crystal.
    We felt brittle bulbs swivel in our skulls.
We saw shimmering purples once exclusive
    to fruit flies and privileged species of beetle.

A sky siren ululated, a stratospheric muezzin.
    We drifted from offices, flats and farms,
past quartz-encrusted traffic jams. 
    Clouds extruded vapour stairways
a jet flight high.  We left texts unwritten,
    tablets on.  Shed organs, bones and skin.
In files of thousands began the climb.


William Stephenson