Such Beautiful Mechanics
November. A frost, then sun -
and the leaves fell gold and endless in the garden.
Air thick with gold - the green drowned gold
of museum treasures worn with age,
with the weight of earth or rock or waves -
and the sound of them, leaves falling onto stone.
I know the mechanics of it - the abscission layer, which exists
between leaf and stem to clutch tight
then break, one cell ripping
apart from another triggered
by frost. All this is in the books.
What has gone unreported there -
this slow fall of gold
through the sharp air.
Called ‘Finisterre’ in Spanish (in Galician, ‘Fisterra’)
Start here. Sail west.
I hate your language
your fishermen’s language,
that casts and nets and hauls away.
Your lobster-pot language, luring and funnelling,
your coastal dialect.
Sail west. The Shellfish Coast -
Costa de Marisco (Costa do Marisco)
Your language trawled back my grandmother
the tide drawing her further and further from us,
running swift out of English -
we followed, we followed -
into Spanish waters
Sail west. Costa de la Muerte – (Costa
da Morte) – the Death Coast
mouthing and gaping, sounds hooked in our tongues
(Estou … estou de camiño)
and my mother guessed, I think she’s speaking to mamá,
as the tide ran swifter still
and then she was so far away
in a language that none of us speak
Sail west. Fisterra - Finisterre –
cast up, on that far voiceless shore.
Harriet Truscott is a writer and editor, living on the edge of the fens. Some of her other recent work appears online at époque é-zine, 192 magazine and Abridged. Find her at @HMTruscott on Twitter.