Northwords Now

New writing, fresh from Scotland and the wider North
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Late Summer

I M Kate Mulvey

by Stephen Keeler

I drove to Furudal today through flashing forests,
reckless as the boy I was, on well-remembered roads,
to learn that you had died.

We sat, my grown-up child and I, and each
called up our different ghosts through air
as thick as uncut meadow grass.

And Sweden lay before us, a postcard of itself,
infused with pine-wood and with dill and sun-baked stone
and Maj-Britt’s apple paj.

The afternoon was drugged on drifting thistledown:
a child’s sky – high and blue and yellow as the flag
that day the village men set up the trestles

and the aproned women brought their plates and bowls
of crayfish, and there was hardbread and wooden knives
and jugs of beer and chilled brännvin under the trees.

You cycled like an actress in the sun:
a hat, of course, pale legs, your freckles soft
as birch seeds blown on end-of-summer winds.

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