In a disused game-keeper’s hut
A stream dashes past in a deep cleft. From inside,
all you hear is the waterfall. Dark as the garden
at night, a mesh covers the grimy window.
No-one will guess. She sweeps the dust, runs outside
to gasp. It settles back like the things she’s heard said.
She pokes feathers she’s found into cracks between planks.
Outside, a jay cackles. The woods are as green
and gold as pheasants. There’s nowhere else.
For company she borrows a glass bowl, fills it with water,
puts in stones and water weed, scoops up frogspawn
from a pool – the jelly clings to her fingers,
the pulsing specks beseech her. Placing this beside
the light she shuts the door behind her, leaving it
exactly as it was. She can’t answer what she can’t hear.
All that summer the dust leaks a musty smell.
In the winter she shoves open the door to find a bowl
of dried tadpoles – when they slide around
they almost clink, like small beads.
(published in Smiths Knoll and A Handful of Water)
Rebecca Gethin‘s second collection A Handful of Water was recently launched by Cinnamon Press. A previous collection, River is the Plural of Rain, was published by Oversteps Books in 2009. Her first novel, Liar Dice, won the Cinnamon Press Novel Writing Award and was published in 2011.