Northwords Now

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a time of grace

by Juliet Antill

when I began
I had no map in my mind
I was a child
with a child’s eye
the country was all country
rivers streams hills bogs
nothing cordoned it
the sun pitched about like a drunk
I knew no destination
no barrier of ocean
only the ecstasy of falling

the world was mapped
over time
guarded with cardinal points
as a bramble guards its fruit with thorns
the world turned tenement and ginnel
turned five bar gate
turned straight paved road
it was vertigo
the sea gathering itself beneath me
a tidal almanac fluttered in my hand
a mockery of flight

time slipped its mooring
a pin grew broad and wide
as an oak
capillaries of sap
poked holes in the sky
planets scattered like pool balls
the moon was a witch
sowing self-heal in my garden
sending the wind
to play the long grass
the long grass bowing

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