Mel in the Trees – Mark Russell

Mel in the Trees

‘Hey,. Mark!.. Have you had eye surgery?’.. ‘Hi, Mel.. No,. my. glasses are
right here in my top pocket.’. ‘But you can see me?’. ‘Of course. I’m short-
sighted.. You know that.’. ‘Really?’ ‘Yes.. You’re standing. right in. front of
me.. I can see you as clear as a bell.. But if you went. and stood over there,
I’d have. to put my glasses on. to recognise you. as anything other.. than a
multi-coloured. blur.’. ‘Wow.. That’s fascinating,’,. he said. and moved. off
over to. the. line. of. trees. behind. the. fence.. ‘Can you. see me. now?’. he
called.. ‘This isn’t fascinating, Mel!’. I shouted, but he couldn’t hear me.. I
snatched. a loud hailer. from. a tree protestor. and turned it on.. My voice
became tinny and broken, but very loud.. ‘Come back, Mel,. this is stupid.’
Mel. looked behind him, to see where. my voice was coming from.. All the
tree protestors joined me in waving him toward us.. Eventually, he got the
message. and. staggered. back...‘Good grief,’. he. said,. ‘I think. I’m. going
deaf.’. ‘No Mel,.. you. walked a long. way from here.. I had. to use this loud
hailer,. and still you were.. too far. away..’ He took it from me.. ‘Wow, that’s
fascinating!’ He began to make his way to the line of trees, but this time he
ran due to. the excitement.. ‘Let me see if. I can do it!’. The tree. protestors
were grumbling and wanted their loud hailer back. I suggested they follow
him and force him to hand it over, but they said they were against all forms
of violence. In the distance,. Mel had his back to us. and was addressing an
empty field. to the west,.. but we. couldn’t. make. out what. he was. saying.
‘Shall. we go and. rescue him?’.. one of .the. tree protestors. said... Mel was
jumping. up and down,. but not in an agitated way.. ‘Let’s wait,’. I said.. ‘I
think he’s enjoying himself.’

Mark Russell won the 2020 Magma Poetry Judge’s Prize. His poems have appeared in The Manchester Review, Stand, The Fortnightly Review, Blackbox Manifold, Poetry Birmingham Literary Journal and elsewhere. @mark59russell