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The Cutting (#1 and #2) by R.M. Francis

Rusted hummock of rusted sands,
torrid tanned cobbles, ovalled, 

watch numb graves watching back

at wagging boys scaling stacks

of morainic concretions

left from slow floes.

Roots tentacle lamina grounds,

rope swing noosed over boss’ frown

initiates these ephebes, taking

turns through covet, making

brave leaps as grinning clan

stand with stones, marksman

each oscillating rite. In quarries

boys bioturbate to burtite.

The Cutting #2

Sephardim boys shadow

BMXs behind businesspark rails,

search Hayes Cutting in dayra drifts

for edge-base away from mom’s gaze.

Corrugated iron, tipped tyres chipped 

bricks form dens on basal beds. Nearly

teen Safina etched into dusty anticline 

with the sharp end of rusted fails. 

Wargames of pebble shots at tramps’ tinnies

punctuate trials with dad’s superkings

then top trumps, then bush porn. This dipping 

sequence holds placoderm, polypterid, actinopteri

and youthful peregrinations, grinding against ghost lineage. 


R. M. Francis is a lecturer in Creative and Professional Writing at the University of Wolverhampton and is currently the poet in residence for the Black Country Geological Society. These poems form part of his ongoing work with them. He's the author of five poetry pamphlet collections, his debut novel, Bella, was published with Wild Pressed Books. Smokestack Books are publishing his collection of poems, Subsidence, in December 2020.


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