The Lotus Tree Literary Review, Autumn 2022 (issue #1)

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26 | Poetry by Harris Coverley


A man’s soul
Is like a thin drip of ice
Hanging from a winter house

And all it takes
Is a fresh-faced young robin
Landing above the gutter
To have it snap
And fall into open snow

The sun shines dully
The wind stands still
The branch creaks under nothing
The season-whitened fox looks out
Oh so briefly from his hiding place
The cold, blood blue river mumbles to itself
Within the house something stirs
And then returns itself to silence

And that fresh-faced young robin flies on and away
Not knowing or caring what it has done

And the shattered ice cannot be told from the snowflakes
Covering the sum of everything
That you love and hold dear

Cool Harbour

song down at sunset
and into night

the boats hanging in the water
paper squares and triangles
painted crudely

me washing goggles with a Japanese dishrag

the men gathered at the bar
in hats made of the same paper
as the boats
smoking their own fingers like cigarillos

they were gods from an unfinished novel

the girl at the end of the bar
in the white slip dress
with the long straight brunette hair
face ashen and sharp
and the cold eyes
black jade set in ice

this was the life I was meant to lead
in a dream half-dreamed
half made up on the spot

the world smelt of fresh water
saltless and wet and blue
and I was smiling.


I have squeezed the lemon of my being enough today. Just put my rind in the shade and leave me alone—please gentle people, please remain fair. I will take what I need from the fresh air and the faint smell of quietude.

And I will see you next week.

The Anatomy of a Purr

People often do not realise that a purr has two parts—an in purr and an out purr. It matches the rhythm of the cat’s breathing: in, out…in, out… Some say they don’t know how cats do it. Others say it’s the folds of flesh behind their noses, vibrating away. But any which way, each cat’s purr is different, yet categorisable. Some are bubblers. Some are motorboats. Some murmur on the out purr, some whimper on the in. Others are like the shudder of a plastic panel in a bitter wind. Furthermore, although they tend to do it on your chest in bed (keeping you awake, but also ensuring that you can’t get up) they may not be doing it out of pleasure. They could be doing it to massage a strain, or an internal issue, or stress. They could even be doing it to claim possession of you—you are theirs, and that’s that. Every stroke of the hand is a sign of servitude, of submission. And too much of a good thing will lead to a sudden and deep bite. “What did I do wrong?” you’ll ask them. And what will you get back? A wet hiss. And then perhaps more purring, to soothe the injury that is your lack of faith…

Harris Coverley

A former Rhysling nominee, Harris Coverley has had over two hundred poems published in journals around the world, including California QuarterlyStar*LineSpectral RealmsSilver BladeThe CrankCorvus ReviewApocalypse ConfidentialView From AtlantisTigershark, and many others. He lives in Manchester, England.