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October 2019 Vol. 15 No. 3

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Claire Everett

Road Trip

where the sky burns blue
in summer's corn-bright hearth
swallows weave
their offerings
of voice and wing and tail

We are walking the path to the long barrow, following the steps of feet that left no mark. A family enters the chamber ahead of us. There is a faint smell of incense and a camera's flash reveals small gifts of fruit and grain left by travellers in honour of the gods of old. The young boy is full of questions.

"That doll-thing scares me. Why is it there?"

My husband tells him about a time before churches, when the days were numbered by suns and moons and stars. When stories were kindled by firelight and handed down through aeons of heart, mouth and mind.

Someone else has entered the tomb. He is full of theories and waxes on about black holes in space and the pupil of the human eye. By his reckoning, if there is a God, "He must dwell here. Between our ears!" He taps his temple, knowingly.

The boy hangs onto every word before his tongue trips over a dozen whys.

home for Lammas
and as ever the harvest
is what it is . . .
I learn of my mother's death
from a gravestone