Northwords Now

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Flora, Rising

by Nancy Graham

They call her lass, still.
Sometimes in mid-summer she tugs her heavy skirt up
to lie on the basalt slab
tumbled at the hillfoot, beside the crooning hens.
Arms and legs spread wide,
she surrenders herself to the heat,
idly waving a curled fringe of bracken;
imagining the cross of her body

as it looks from the sky,
how the buzzard gliding on banks of warm air
might turn its hooked head, snagged by her
dark stillness in a green expanse
shifting with small life. Eyes closed,
breath slowing, she lets sound recede:
buzz of insects, sheep bleating in the far field,
the encompassing chirrup of sparrows.

Above and beyond herself
she roams with the pierce-eyed bird of prey,
circling the bony ridge of the hill, seeing
everything below: her spindly shape on stone;
the bracken crowding, rutted track,
the byre, beasts clustered at the water barrel.
All points diminish. Clouds feather her feet;
the earth curves blue: she is unreachable.

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