Freelance writer Zannah Kearns has had her poems featured in Poetry Birmingham Literary Journal, The Dark Horse, Finished Creatures, Under the Radar, Ink, Sweat & Tears and Atrium. A members’ winner in a summer 2021 competition run by The Poetry Society, Zannah co-runs the Poets’ Café – a monthly open mic in Reading, Berkshire.
in the Morning
It strikes me the moon controls more than our tides
just as these children
surge into my room, my bed
crash into my heart, flood me with chatter,
their energies zingy as sea spray.
Lockdown: the house is awash
with unfinished projects, dirty socks
scrunched-up sheets of abandoned drawings.
I’m scrolling news that’s rolling in
story upon story
too many names, too many splashes.
I can lose hours gazing at friends’ pictures
their perfect reflections mirrored in lakes
but we’ve all of us blown far out to sea,
swung on each wave at the whim of the moon.
Under sunlit windswept skies
we cast off
into this day its dip and swell
into its lull
helming as best as we can.
Love as a Mutt
We run — our laughter bouncing against bricks and
the fence we threw mud at last Wednesday.
We run with faces turned for a moment
to the sun, feeling its glow as a kiss
on our skin, held for all memory.
The Earth has halted her turning to say
Then, coats flapping with busted zips
we’re away again — hair unbrushed, fingers raw,
some nails bitten to bloody quicks, but none of it
matters because now
Gentle flakes spiral
through air stilled.
Skin bright, breath visible, our small hearts
are as hot as baked potatoes. We spread our hands
while the sky pegs out her grimy sheets.
Near some dustbins, a mangy dog cowers,
all ribs and bald patches. Some throw stones,
but Jamie tosses her coat, scoops the mutt —
ears cut off, bones a collection of loose rods
she can hardly keep in her arms.
I’ll call him Princess.
Bet you can’t keep him.
But Jamie, smiling, doesn’t hear.
On Holding On
and Being Held
In Aviemore, I climbed a wall of ice
glittering in the winter sun — an edifice of glass.
I led the route, kicking crampons to make shelves,
reaching up with yellow-handled axes, chipping holds;
scaling a ladder, right then left
like Jack climbing his beanstalk through the cloud,
snowflakes falling so thick they looked furred.
And my heart full.
It’s the first time I’d ever winter-climbed.
Everywhere, white was all I saw
so, even though I was several storeys high
with nothing much to hold me if I fell,
something about the surrounding cloud, the mountain’s bowl
like a cupped hand, felt substantial.
I, who am often consumed by fear, had none.
Sometimes now, far out on one of life’s edges,
I like to remember that day on the mountain
when the tips of my toes were hooked in its snow,
how the flat of each boot rested on air.
High Tide in the Morning: Locked Down | Poems, Diaries and Art
from the 2020 Pandemic (Poetry Space)
Love as a Mutt: Under the Radar (Issue 25)
On Holding On and Being Held: The Dark Horse (Issue 43)