David Barber reads

My Throat’s a Torch, the Rest of Me Rust

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My throat’s a torch, the rest of me rust
From head to haunch. I hotfoot it off,
Ready to rumble. That’s my ruddy pelt
Bristling in streaks. Those spokes and sparks
Are my ears and eyes. I steal on my toes
Across the green downs. Dark will be the day
If the hellhound comes harrying here
Where I’ve gone to ground with my little ones.
The hot breath of the brute at our door
Unless I call on all my canny wiles
If he bulls into our hidden burrow
On his belly, baying for our bones,
It would be folly to fight him there
So with furious paws I’ll forge a path
here’s how a mother must make haste
Spirit them through a secret route
In the pitch-black peat, like a thing possessed.
Then I can face my foe with no fear
If the punk still wants a piece of me.
Bring it on: I’ll double back
With fire in my belly, bolder than ever,
And terrible will be the turf-battle 
On the hill-crest under the earth-candle
When I turn this time with tooth and nail
On the fiend I’ll flee no longer.