As long as I stay invisible, I am everything
you don’t know. A casual glance won’t unpick
my lock – this glass case of bramble stalks,
prickly, soaked. I’m an illusionist, arrow
and cross-bow, plant or insect, a specialist
at playing dead. Woody in winter, independent,
I strew my fatherless eggs disguised as seeds
on the leaves beneath me. All my girls
are silk, small preparatory sketches. Blind
to night and day, they twitch and skitter
slowly, practise disappearing. I’ve lost
a leg, as if I were growing into my own
brittle pretence. The longer you look,
the more you’ll see – this whole case transparent,
crawling with what you’re certain can’t be phantoms.
Linda France lives in rural Northumberland, UK. Her eighth collection, Reading the Flowers, arising from a tour of some of the world’s Botanic Gardens, is due from Arc in Spring 2016. She has also just completed a non-fiction book of her travels called Botanical Road. Linda is currently Creative Writing Fellow at the University of Leeds.