“Avril” by Hadley-James Hoyles

The dull beep raises my guard
as the seconds canter in the frost
lit up by an anaemic star
in the echoes of the morning.

A glib voice asserts itself
into my tame fantasy:
-Not recognised, try againnever again will I need to try.
I wanted to speak, for my grieving call
to crackle and spit its last farewell
on a handset far from here
in a droll little terrace, mouldering now
no more two bar heating
no pilot light coaxed above the stove.
There was never a need to be heard.

I held your ice-bit palm steadfast
touched my hand to your skull
no separation from the stark, cold flesh
tight and trussed in that lined box.
I knocked, and I hope you weren’t
annoyed by the disturbance
I wanted you to know I was there
it had passed, but I had come
while the signs blared down
and the collectors tutted and sighed
I had come, travelled back to a home
that counted me no more, for you.

When I am home for good, my bones will cry
for the world is too fraught for the moment
the sun had failed to tan your brow or eyes
but it never bleached them either.

This casement steadies me, my own ash waits
in a time I cannot care for now
my songs will never see you wake:
the earth will hold you, in its core.


Hadley-James Hoyles is a poet, musician and teacher from North Yorkshire, who bases much of his work on the relationship between the landscape and the psyche, the echoes of the ancient peoples of Northern England, and the impact of the natural world on the individual lives and actions of select characters. He has been published in Yellerzine, The Inkwell, Poetry Lab Shanghai, Together Behind Four Walls and The Klecksograph, and his debut pamphlet was released in March 2021 by Wild Pressed Books.

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