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ISSUE:  Summer 2001


Along the road beside the loch were rhododendron blossoms
and gravel of crushed shell; the curving mass of your chest swelled
your sweater. Wool pilled like a dead sheep’s gas-distended
belly. You were telling me how roedeer herded in the dripping woods—
you could hear the roebuck’s sexual cry sometimes
across Glen Dubh. Dubh means dark, you said. And what
 disturbed me
(I was fourteen) was a tenor in the day that showed how you and I
were similar: there were low hills, green walls sweating dew
as bathroom tiles would, and there were rabbits, who leapt out
of the bracken flashing muddy under-fur. I knew you wanted
me to act, to show I loved what you loved, and I didn’t
want to do this. Didn’t want you veering down inside me, your
roots I could be earth to. The word was on my tongue, a gritty divot,
but I thought no. Sank my heels as deep as possible into the hot wells
of my rubber boots and walked faster—my pores took in the sea-mist
and I would have stopped even that much infiltration—
would have spit out even that beauty if I could.


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