by Ruth Stacey
The dog is pulling my arm and you, child, pull the other, dawdling and then you say that the copse is a graveyard for witches and each tree is actually a stick and far above on each one, there is a carousel horse that I cannot see. That night the trees form a circle. I cannot leave the round path, I weave through the fairground horses stroking the gloss paint. Each steed is hollow, inside are the swathes of a witch's long hair, still burning. I wind the russet tresses around my fingers and wrists like copper question marks. The trees in this copse are slender, they bend, swaying. The floor is moss strewn, a bed. It is saying, this is not frightening. Witch grave by a gate and this horse is fresh, the paint on the fingertips tacky. The deciduous trees are gilded with decay, framing the view through the copse and beyond the gate. It is a cut cornfield. Dull, yellow stems made vivid by an utterly grey sky above and a woman who hurries across the scene pulled by a springing dog. Droplets of rain hit the blue, plastic coat of her child, a child she turns to encourage along, a child who ignores her and tarries.
Ruth Stacey was born and brought up in a rural English Shire. Some of this is true. Her eyes are not blue but grey. She is the daughter of a gamekeeper and a nursemaid. A wicked fairy cursed her to be heartbroken unless she kept busy creating things. She spends her time crafting poems in the spaces between looking after three small children and writing about animal characters in Native American literature. Her favourite fruit? Wild strawberries; more intense than their cultivated cousins. Learn more at her website.
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