Stone beasts patrolling borders
nervously eye Friday revellers.
One night (it’s a thankless job)
the leopard gets its face sliced off.
In stone A&E a mason prepares
a face transplant. Once innovative,
this is now routine. The sculptor,
sentimental soul, gives it a kiss
and it’s off, hunting park groundswell
dragging pheasants from bushes
the tree-spot of colour enthralling children
whose parents don’t believe them later.
Admiring its new face in the curl of lake
it wearies as dusk violets the verges
and pads home when all’s locked up
scrambling, muzzled by repair, to the wall
where the swan, staring sideways,
gulps. The long week looms.
Mark won the Somerset Maugham Prize for Two Kinds of Silence. Poems and stories in Agenda, Poetry Wales, The Interpreter’s House, The London Magazine. His third book of stories Doppelgangers is published in the autumn. More info: www.markblayney.weebly.com @markblayney