Lia Brooks is the winner of The Straid Collection Award and a current finalist for the Aesthetica Writing Award. Her poetry has been four-times nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has appeared in Poetry London, Magma, Mslexia, The Frogmore Papers, Agenda, Penumbra, among others. She has been highly commended in the National Poetry Competition for The Poetry Society, and has also been commended in the Mslexia Pamphlet and Poetry Competitions, The Frogmore, The Troubadour, Cafe Writers, The Bridport and the Indigo Open competitions.

Lia Brooks took part in the Places of Poetry Project for England and Wales; in partnership with the Ordnance Survey, The Poetry Society, and National Poetry Day. Her poetry appeared in the Places of Poetry Anthology: Mapping the Nation in Verse, selected by Paul Farley and Andrew McRae.

Lia Brooks lives on the edge of the New Forest in the south of England. She can be found walking along the banks of the river, just beyond her doorstep, or with her nose in a pile of books.

Last Song

Land bends beneath the wren.

Yellow and burnt crabs fall from hinges of dark wood,
             scuttle with the wind-curve of the heath, under that wing.

A shore somewhere inland. Do you see it?

There, beyond the silt bar, banks guide the perch and graylings.

Swimming the turns and folding earth.

A small roof is an upturned hull lost among tumbling barrows.

Celandines needle the crests of that slumping shoulder.

Crooked beneath the wren.

Made hunched and crouching, by the wren.

A dart. A flutter and loud trill that knocks a hill hollow.

A cave for the fox to wait in during the downpour.

Sighs and singing. Sings the echo somewhere far in.

In the tunnels of the dampening body.

The land twists and tugs at the beak. The worm slips.

Land clicks with the pinches as leaves of the horse chestnut
             claw their long distances, tide after tide after tide.

And nobody. Nobody. Nobody is watching.

Your Brother's Hands

Afterwards, as in the room where you take your brother's hands
            and bathe them, the curve of the hearth, the green-
            oak knots of the mantle, are worn like land
            consenting the raised stones of an outcrop.
The face of your brother circles the room, or is it a yellow heath
            with white air supporting peregrine? His eyes narrowing
            on the rope strung in front of the fire, pendulous -
            the swing it makes from room to hillside and always returning.
Before, meaning a place in the forest, pheasant twitching
            leaves from a claw. Red-feathered, tree-coloured, rope looping
            its neck, is the walk your brother takes below the elm trees,
            the meal he offers and the door you close behind him.
Grey water falling over his skin, as in rainfall on a cold summit
            bringing the debris of rock and salt, this winter light, until
            into a bowl collects the sum of your brothers hands, fire
            crackling through the coals and a green distance hanging.

Mouse Catcher in the Hay

Before you were laid down like stones on the field wall,
you used to chase mice. The combine harvester

lopped hay. You crawled after it, collected brown tails
in your basket, tied them to oak-leaf stalks

and afterwards, when I opened your present, after cake
and balloon games, I found a bracelet of mouse-
tails bloody in a nest of hay. The butcher

called you Cat. It was how you pounced
in the fields, he said, coughing up small bones.

I knew you as the farmer's girl. Fists flexing
while the foxes were shot. That last harvest

before blades came through you, cleanly, I suffered
a sickness hotter than I can explain. In the centre
of fever, footsteps came to the passage, white face

in the doorway, eyes the black of baleful. A voice lost
to hissing as you spoke of a low glide across hayfields,

and the mice, mice crying. I recoiled then
into sleep, waking again some hour after midnight.

At the bed, you leaned over me like a tree. From the damp
hollow of your mouth, silver wing-tips stretching
the corners to a smile, you released an owl.

This poem was first published in Poetry London


Lia Brooks



© 2022 Lia Brooks


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