Perfect Blue
Kona Macphee

A selection of five poems from Perfect Blue.

The invention of the electric chair

All the slow purposes that make a tree
were in you once – to grow; to gauge
in every measured angle of your leaves
that moving target, light; to hold
through winter like an indrawn breath; to feel
the buzz of resurrection borne on spring.

As neutral wood suborns to dark intents
of blame, in icons hewn and nailed -
the scaffold and the catherine wheel,
the cross and gallows: symbols of
a skill that’s more than carpentry,
and deeply less than human – so, lost tree,

this timber rictus of your supple green
has made a foursquare chair. Now history
awaits in thrall the painted scene
that might beatify your sacrifice -
those drooping limbs surrendered to your arms;
that smoking moment held: a Pietà.

This poem was first published in New Welsh Review, Issue 86, Winter 2009.

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