Northwords Now

New writing, fresh from Scotland and the wider North
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Posted from the Sidlaws

by Beth McDonough

Sometimes the world enters flatfish moments.
Already flounder, half-hidden in sand,
nearly an etching, or a soft rubbing.
Well on its way to scrutiny,
as almost a fossil, caught behind glass.
Watched under rising water. Stopped breaths.

But all I will tell you is of ling-scratched legs,
marked fine as graph paper feints.
You've no need to learn of any unseen stumble,
of the shuddering rucksack, of those moments
of timed cyanosis, of whites of eyes rolling
of that thin dribble into insistent green.

All I will tell you is there were blaeberries, bled ripe
thicking this path, and a peated way down
to the hairst's hazing fields. You'll trace your gold
right to the start of Dundee. Somewhere beyond,
squint at an uncertain Tay. There must have been Fife.
Mostly there was warm mist, and us.

All I will tell you is how fast he ran,
uphill, out of sight, more rapid than nightmares
where I can't to follow. All I will tell you
is he found this springing bed,
blazed out with butterflies, and again
the world floundered ahead.

He is nearly an etching, or a soft rubbing,
half-hidden in kicked peat, in ling.
Under the scrutiny of watches and skies,
his is a moment of stopped breaths
gone fossil. A pale tremor,
of seconds turned aeons until this subsides.

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