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Homeless Jesus 3: Jesus Scents the Burning Moors by Steven Waling

From his bench he can’t see the hills but smells them even from here: myrrh? Sweet acrid. Stepped slopes paths once trodden by millhands smoking like chimneys in the valleys below. Coughed out years ago – last time he was there they were weaving the peat bogs back together. Bog myrtle, sphagnum moss the weft the warp. Smell of burnt meat from the Christmas markets as he feeds the vixen from his kebab. She loves a bit of spice, works the back of Thomas Street’s Indian café’s yesterday’s curries and naans. She tells him of burrows burnt ground nests flamed in seconds. Shadows wandering ruined trails ghosts of the song of themselves. Fox licks the wounds

on his hands the stink of the lost