Northwords Now

New writing, fresh from Scotland and the wider North
Sgrìobhadh ùr à Alba agus an Àird a Tuath

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Pruning

by Isabel Miles

Inverurie can be gorgeous in June.  It's afternoon and I'm alone in our quiet garden with my son who's lost in his world of play.  From my seat by the wall I can watch him and smell the first roses of the year, the colour of sunset with a sweet sharp scent of apricots.  They have outgrown their trellis and are clambering along the rough cast, almost touching me.  Tonight my husband will trim back their messy beauty, as he's been threatening for weeks.

            I hold my face up to the sun and let the soft breeze dry weak tears of pity clouded by self-pity.  My heart is beating too hard, too fast and, though I've managed to blink my vision clear, my thoughts remain foggy and tangled.  If he could, my husband would tidy those up too.

            On the soft new grass our son squats, intent on something I can't see.  He may be tempting a snail from its shell with a sliver of sorrel.  Perhaps his hand is cupped round a dandelion clock, sheltering it from the wind.  His long dark waves are tied up in his favourite yellow ribbon and he is wearing the blue dress I let him choose.  So far I have kept it safe for him, hidden in my jumper drawer.  He is happy and if he were not so happy I could be stronger.  Tonight we will cut his hair, for I have promised my husband.  I bend over my son, breathing in his fragrance of sun-warmed skin and hair.   'What have you found?' I ask.

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