Gareth Culshaw

The farmer’s flat cap shows his height against an oak tree.
He pulls the digger with yesterday’s hands, turns the bucket,
empties shouted words spoken to cattle on foggy mornings.
His son pops out of a hole where a new fence is to be fenced.
The farmer ignites two thumbs, points to the rain cloud
that moves from his head, tilts another order.
A wood pigeon flies through the air chases a sparrowhawk’s
shadow. Dogs swap barks along the road, kitchen lights
bring out broken sunlight. The farmer yells at his son, catches
him talking to a blackbird that eats a worm. They exchange
jam-slow frowns, itchy winks and swear words found
in a creosote fence. The farmer spins the digger, picks up
soil from his father’s grave, empties it into his son’s pocket.
A spirit level balances the field’s edge keeps their world
from falling off earth. Rain, kettle pours through mesh clouds.
His son holds up a post, whacks it with his mallet, uses
a flat cap to tap in nails. The farmer watches from inside
an empty skull as his son fences off his childhood.
He spits into a fire that rages on his palm, then falls
out of the tractor, gives his son the keys,
tells him to dig out his youth to find himself.

Gareth lives in Wales. He has two collections by FutureCycle called The Miner & A Bard’s View. He has been nominated for Best of the Net.