Thursday, February 23, 2017


Hanska Retires
By Philip Berry


Hanska, seventy-eight
hair greying to white
refuses to linger among familiar things

she pulls the zinc door shut
slamming the mechanism
to advertise her daily routine

passes the café next door
where the owner, who knows her
serves a man in silver braid

along a sidewalk blackened
by a night of soaking rain
she keeps her head down

spies the accidental spaces
the liminal places
where, she fancies

between cracked bricks
and juxtaposed walls
lie the private and unseen

while at her back
the dawn-cleansed needle
of the high library rises

where she would stand alone
hands in the data-stream
sensing every connection

shaping the flow
marking the sources
for faceless suppression.

Over the fissured bed
of a long drained river
crossed by ten lane routes
and man-high pipes
hugging concave banks
she travels to the edge
where homes are spread thin
beyond the planners’ reach
and the wind blows insistent
in hot descent
from the theory engines


Past the ruins of the Eastern gate
its shins kicked out during a failed rebellion
she turns a marble chunk
discerns the pockmarked cheek of a dead leader who
with broken arms and dusted eye
proclaims his immortal legacy


The clock hand shudders
triggering a silent bomb
opinions gush across the floor

dripping down walls
pouring weightless from the windows
lining the streets, uncontainable flow

a distant rumble
speed building from the city
justice unleashed

twitching like a bird
she judges the terrain
the ruin of a hedgerow

as five lava lines
divide dusk’s dark spectrum
she rolls under the bramble

withdraws a trailing hand
cracked lips murmuring
wishing herself, every narrow bone

into the dense nest
of stick and thorn


Later, days later

when the foot soldiers range under stern supervision
confused themselves, by the new reality
a floating probe sniffs the residuum of fear
where a hair, grey
sways on a thorn
auguring punishment
on the public hook

but all it can do
the synthetic hound
is butt the spot
and tremble in frustration

for the trail is dead
there is no human here

only insects


free things


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Phil Berry is a London based author whose specualative fiction has been published with Daily Science Fiction, Metaphorosis, Nebula Rift, 365 Tomorrows and others.


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