Northwords Now

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Heavy Weather

by Leonie Charlton

There’s a poem agitating on the B road to Abriachan

I keep going back to where I was pulled up by a roe buck
colour of rust, and the dead hare where I let the car rest  
danced on tarmac to Frazy Ford in close horse-breath air
there in the middle of a moor of bog myrtle and pine, heather in total bloom,
birch on shine, asphodel horizons of dirty gold

juniper bushes all canted away from me in a conspiracy

I picked the single black berry from an unready of green,
held it electric between forefinger and thumb        stopped dancing.

The hare’s hips were snapped and haunches laid flat,
blood pooling to puce. Her ears rimmed in moon-sharp memory,
front legs lifted, ready to run across the hopelessness of heather.     

I pressed my thumb-nail hard into the juniper berry, breathed back to that day in May
in the Birkwoods of Braemar, when you invited me to sit with you, to rest the horses.
I’d ridden on without a word through in-between worlds of juniper and wood anemone.  

At my feet, on the B road To Abriachan, whiskers moved, still looking for meaning
in the whickering wind. Tears lifting for you and me, for that crushed moment.
For this hare in two halves.

The Board and Editor of Northwords Now acknowledge support from Creative Scotland and Bòrd na Gàidhlig.
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