offers quarter point, banks left
and is the compass rose of self,
drawn by the sea’s dark magnet
to narrow on its dive. That beak
could nail you to a bloody rood,
eviscerate the dull mind’s scrod,
fall ravenous on an idling flex
from nowheres of insipid sky
and still come back for more.
Here, against the ocean scrim:
white cross on Payne’s grey,
corn-tinged torc of neck,
post-punk graphic head,
those brown bastard wings
angle steel-tipped greed
to cleave the surface water
and feed a boundless want.
Firebolt cruciform retracting in-
to knife, you’ve glid the season
by me, swept aside my morning
for the zero sum of your hunt.
In turn, I sift the cortex
of near-forgotten dread,
to lose you in the thinking
as this sharp beak hits white.

Born in County Durham, Martin Malone now lives in Gardenstown on the north-east coast of Scotland. He has published three poetry collections: The Waiting Hillside (Templar, 2011), Cur (Shoestring, 2015), The Unreturning (Shoestring 2019) and a Selected Poems 2005 – 2020: Larksong Static (Hedgehog 2020). He is currently working on two new collections and writing a third album for his regathered band from the 1980s, Innocents Abroad. He’s won and not won some prizes in the past. His website is to be found at: