John Short



The more exists of things,
importance seems diminished.
So, when you disappear
into that vastness 
from whence you came
it will be hard to contemplate
your lack of value there.

Numerous as forest leaves,
the city heaving with
a mass of uncharted souls,
now you, a leaf on the forest floor;
an ear of wheat in a field
but in my tiny scrap of universe
always and forever a jewel.



Faceless dots on maps
upon closer inspection reveal
bridges, houses, churches.
Road signs suggest other places
but it’s high summer 
and the crop needs a hand.

Midnight café, cicada chorus
unexpected friendships,
a one-armed war veteran
pedalling old lanes at dawn,
the chance discovery: 
fresh bread and chocolate
as elements to combine 

and how random dots on maps, 
at first of no significance,
create allegiances over time, 
compel a life off course
until one day the paths unchosen
might return as speculation.


The dove looks alarmed
as its mate goes flying  
off the sideboard’s edge
when you fling a door.
Forty years, same place,
you used to tell me
how instalments ensured
the pair were yours.
Now you sit in this pool
of senseless oblivion
and don’t even shed a tear
as I brush up fragments,

dream miraculous repairs
like those lost vases
jigsaw-pieced to live again 
impossibly from earth.

John Short lives in Liverpool again after a previous life in southern Europe and has had poems in magazines like Pennine Platform, Poetry Salzburg Review, London Grip and The High Window. His second collection Those Ghosts (Beaten Track) was published in 2021 and his third, In Search of a Subject (Cerasus Poetry) will appear in early 2023. He blogs sporadically at Tsarkoverse

Flights, Issue Six, September 2022