Saturday, 13 August 2016

Poetry 2016 / 086


Birchwood Smoke

The rattle of tyres over a cattle grid
in the pre-night darkness of an east facing hill
sends a dozen sheep racing from the headlights.
There are no lights in the cottage
but we have been promised a key
above the outhouse door. We find it by feel
and the light of your mobile screen.
The outhouse smells dank, and tomorrow we'll see
the glory of an ancient spider's web
bedecking the ceiling and inhabited
by a dozen hungry occupants.
An earwig scuttles away from the light
and you shout, more surprise than fear,
though I know you don't like those pincers.
They remind you of the calipers they used
to hold open your eyes during surgery.

Inside, we find candles where the owner said they were
and matches on the mantlepiece. I light the fire
already set out for us and see the peeling wallpaper
by the dancing light of birch log flames.
We pull the cushions off the sofa and open a bottle
Blackberry '89, a present from my father
drunk from mismatched glasses, with bread
torn from a loaf and cheese cut with a penknife.
You take a selfie of the two of us and I wonder
if it's all downhill from here on in.

© Rachel Green 2016


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4 comments:

Stephanie Wright said...

Oh! So poignant, but this is lovely despite the near melancholy end. I love the heady visuals. Thank you for this trip.

Rachel Green said...

Thank you. I love the smell of woodsmoke, still.

aims said...

Sitting here smiling. 'All downhill from here'....so very good!

Rachel Green said...

Alas, it was. Divorced that one.