Richard Skinner is a writer working across fiction, life writing, essays, non-fiction and poetry. He has published three novels with Faber & Faber, three books of non-fiction and three books of poetry. His work has been nominated for prizes and is published in eight languages. Richard’s poetry first appeared in the Faber anthology ‘First Pressings’ (1998) and since then in anthologies for William Blake, John Berger, CALM and Médicines Sans Frontières. His most recent book of poems is The Malvern Aviator (Smokestack, 2018). “Azahar” is taken from his forthcoming book of poems, Invisible Sun, which will be published by Smokestack in February 2021.
Mid-air, head-over-heels, a peeled hare
in a sack of yoke is hauled
through oil. The two buds inside it tap
and bulge and then, at the slack tide
of 26 weeks, the Cremaster forces them
to sink or swim, turning them into peaches
On a slope in Andalucia, rows of orange trees
squirt their scent, giving birth to a word: azahar.
Below ground, a chimera fuses
with the rootstock,
a new citrus effervesces, suckers sprout
and a different fruit yolks to the stem—the oranges
cede to the usurper lemon.