Northwords Now Issue 38

The FREE literary magazine of the North

Quernstones

by Lydia Harris

At birth they come in pairs, you can’t slide
a blade between them, bedstone fastened
to the bink, topstone with its oak handle,
free-form, ready to spin, ready to swallow
grain in a clockwise turn. A clean cloth under
to catch the puffed-out meal, cloud on the breath
between edge and edge, a whirr, sometimes a click
from the throat and they ride and spew, mark time,
run rough over husks, steady heart, steady beat,
as the days shrink, as they wear themselves smooth.