Rebecca Parker

This isn’t the poem

A full year went by after the walk we took
above the clouds, when we climbed through
the fog bank and emerged
into a world of golden hilltop, with
a sky of antique powder blue writing paper
over a slow ocean of white foam.

A year, when I sat down with the compressed day
and passed it from hand to hand,
turned it over and held it to the light
to see what was trapped inside,
then thought of a book I read once
and the name of an ancient landscape dressed up
as a goddess in a snowdrift coat and
a stone crown, basking in a wide cathedral sky.

By now a poem had formed, but it
dashed into the undergrowth before I could catch it
by the hind legs. Several months of tracking led me
to its glade where a pair of antlers,
calcified lightning, was shed on the ground,
and from the corner of my eye I saw a white hart
flash between the trees.

The ambush never occurred. The poem knew
I waited for her, and winter scratched at the doorway
of my hide. I mounted the antlers on my wall
to brood at, half defeated, half content
with my unwrangled poem, living wild, uncaught.



Rebecca Parker is a writer and copy-editor based in Fife, Scotland. Her work has most recently appeared in Gutter, The Cardiff Review, and The Curlew. She is a member of the publishing team for Tapsalteerie, publisher of contemporary poetry pamphlets in Scots, Gaelic, and English.