Watching the Perseids with Sue

Linda France

 

After our supper of cavolo nero,

black greens, from her brother’s garden,

I dug in the woolly dark

of the cupboard under the stairs

for winter coats in August.

Outside the sky was clear

as just-cleaned windows,

every detail sharp, so

as we lay side by side

on my frayed alpaca blanket

looking up we felt flown

to another world, bathed

in radiance.  When the rocks

and ice started falling, pencilling

the vast star-strewn ceiling

with their brief lines of light,

long vowels shot out of our mouths,

involuntarily ignited.  We were kids

again, learning what beauty is –

there for a second, then gone –

giggling ourselves stupid.  No idea

if it was awe or joy or the thrill

of self-forgetting, held safe there,

marinaded in dew, between earth,

heaven and the immensity

of everything we’ll never know.

 

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.

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