Harriet Truscott

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

 

then beyond,

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 –

Earth’s End

 

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.

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