At Laddow Rocks

Low sun’s heat through skeleton trees.
A grey squirrel sprinting over limbs.
Woodpeckers in a thrashing chase.

A house covered in holly and smoke.
The path from Oldham filled with crows.

A brief flash of deer eyes in forest.
Stoodley Pike beyond the trees and hills
like a thumbs-up from a distant child.

Later, ducks climbing the hillside
and then the reservoir wall
from which they splashed into the glinting.

My own feet in cold-clutching water,
I watched again the languid loops
of the distant raven’s wings.

Lastly, by the rocks of Laddow Rocks,
I looked at the water’s curling descent
towards Crowden, and scanned the sky
for more ravens on the valley’s other side.

A faint whistle made me look
towards the cut of sky above
where a buzzard made its exit,
turning red wings from the sunset.

Neil Campbell is from Manchester. He has two collections of short stories, Broken Doll and Pictures From Hopper, published by Salt, and two poetry collections, Birds and Bugsworth Diary, published by The Knives Forks and Spoons Press, who have also published his short fiction chapbook, Ekphrasis. Recent stories have appeared in Unthology 6, The Stockholm Review of Literature and Best British Short Stories 2015. A collection of flash fiction, Fog Lane, is forthcoming from Gumbo Press, and his first novel, Sky Hooks, was published by Salt in 2016. His Twitter: @neilcambers.

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