Zoë Skoulding

from Adda

I
a river behind itself
this long s disappearing
seriffed into mud or the
torn edges of a map is

Adda or Adam after
Cae Mab Adda never
an origin only a
dried up rib of a river

a trickle of threat suppressed
escaping the level eye
where sea runs to horizons
innocent as water as

an adder stamped underground
with only the faintest hiss

II
river subtracted from its
own presence a river run
aground secretly working
as all rivers the double
edge of every beginning
blacked out in concrete pipes

where flood is defenceless where
water levels the difference

digging the foundations it’s
as though no-one remembers
the water the ground is full
of it pumped out only to
rise up through the mud alive


III
flowering at the mouth it
speaks its own name on the point
of losing it becoming
public at a safe distance
our mouths flower in a name
becoming distant to us

what's vibrating underground
echoed in metal lids as
the town dips towards what it’s
forgotten what’s still there on
the tip of the tongue a rush
of kingcup campion bramble

in its stutter is what it’s
saying what it’s saying is