We kern the steepness of the hill side
like mountain goats, our chins tucked tight
against Welsh cold
your mittened hands, clench mine in strength
I hadn’t known you possessed
turned from grandmother to mountain woman
determined in stride
you cut your way deftly, through high grass
bleached by wind and bones scattered
mournful like lost jewels, pressed to earth
when you were young, a great beauty, they claimed
few knew the intelligence, simmering behind
your sensible, corduroy smile
sometimes, it’s not easy being a head-turner
people lean in, too close, with fettered breath
wishing to pluck, your moment
and soon, you had a swollen stomach and those
ideas of being an artist
shot out of the window, like a blue jay
lured by shining glass
once, you told me
I always wanted a girl and ended up
with two redhaired boys
who left stains on my good china and
caused my back to ache
I wanted a girl, to bring up as my very untried wish
a kite, would roam in thin air, when the day was sheltered by mauve clouds
into dells and valleys, in search of blueberries or other
vaunted treats
a girl like me
strong, beneath the fragility
of fitting in and sticking out
a girl of wool and bone
sucking the marrow out of day
shuing in darkness as,
a priest may clear his church, of roosting birds
we tramp, sticks in hand, knees sore
into the cold, into the sucking void
she tells me stories of before
tales carried within her like leather pages
they take on faces and skip
alongside us, as the lone wolf
watches from o-er the crest
ever patient in low stalk
she is old and she is young
her shoulders stooped, her breasts withered
with eyes that glitter in fading light
brighter than any childs
they didn’t get to see her like this
her raw boned sons, eating around the edges
watching her in the role of mother
losing distinction, by cursory dismissal
and I wonder
as we stop to prise mushrooms
gathering thickly at base of dying trees
as she wipes away an errant whisp of hair
and turns back, pink cheeked and thrilled
if anyone had seen her heart
here on the mountain
exposed to elements
as fresh as the air, we pull deeply through our lungs
and holding hands, descending sharply
back to the world of man