through this Japanese ghost garden
this monochrome dreamscape
slips a half-dreamt wraith
born from the last shades of dusk
she is tip tip toeing on footfall so soft
it uncurls snails
dizzies galaxies in dew
her vagabond heart
beats with the tremors of the earth
balances on owl call
and the breeze rushing the trees
behind her swim timorous worlds
we can never enter
so slight and swift she moves
that without the moon billowing through
the cherry and all the fallen blossom
luminous as snow
I would not see her
He suckled. He grazed.
Grasses, buttercups, a mash of nameless leaves
and stems foaming on his eely tongue.
He had the whole Sky as his mother,
the Earth as his soul.
The blade works from throat to tail:
spill and tumble, organs a muddle of bloody parcels
unfolding onto stone, slick and remote.
His tongue hangs from the slack jaw.
How his eyes show shock and sky
in their shine.
We soak the skin in lime, prod it down with staffs.
It rises and looms, settles.
Our eyes smart and burn in the haze.
Eight days gone, we haul out its pale slap,
nail it to a frame, scrape the last fine hairs away.
A skim of fat gathers on the blade.
Limed and scudded, the pelt dries and stiffens;
a map of paths wandering virgin terrain.
The world is drawn inside your skin,
its pale parchment shrinking at light;
the endless raking of the lunellum remembered
in its translucence.
Undulations appear over time; a shift
in the landscape. A memory of green:
soilburst of shoots ruckling the meadow
below your hooves.
Note: The Hereford Mappa Mundi was drawn on a single calf skin.
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