Northwords Now Issue 36

The FREE literary magazine of the North

Heart Rot

by Matthew Gallivan

The fungal decay of wood
at the centre of the trunk.

From a raddled elm
the blackbird reaches down
to pull the seams, stitched
into the bull carcass;

sweet-white maggots
chirping rain and laying
eggs in the quiet heart:
pale flesh for rattling beaks

hidden in the rump
of the tree