It stands at the gates of death,
at entrances to tunnels and crypts
with hollow eyes and glaring nostrils,
long arms and stiff vertebrae.
The slip of its pelvis moves silently
with every one or two steps.
It greets me in darkness.
“Do you want knowledge of the void,
why this city sucks all effort into itself
down priest holes in catechisms
to the lands of death?”
I cling onto trees and mossy roots in memory.
There is barrenness where green withers
and only stone or bone flayed
to its barest remnants knows the secrets of survival.
“Do you want to become gnarled fingers,
grey and twisted scapula, a ribcage without a heart?”
I think of the ringway,
and pair of snapping jaws
eating every car and depositing them
in the darkness of its cave.
I want understanding
but only the dead understand
unwalked roads and flashing traffic lights.
I ask “is this the only way?”
Its bones are silent,
incomprehensible as carparks
where churches once stood,
communities and their graves.
There is no riddle. No solution. No easy way.
Each time I have done a reading with The Wildwood Tarot asking for guidance or inspiration in relation to Preston I have drawn ‘The Guardian’ card. I wrote this poem to explore its meaning.