Snowdrop 8.5: Shared Bread
The bread in his hand is brown, a hash
of ryes and wheats winnowed in the dark:
a memory of hay harvested by moonlight.
It smells of goodness - a substantial gift
from a different land delivered by a god.
"Look at the state of you! Did I build you
just like I built the knife? The shoe? The rocks
and grass and trees and mad men wearing frocks?
I doubt that you're as real as mists and dew ..."
He smiles as he sits in the circle, nods
to the hooden troop as he hands the bread
across to the Carter. He keeps his words
to himself, his certainty set in the face
he sets to the gaze of the girl. She smiles.
"And still you're here - just like the way she spoke
of you: your hair so dark, your chin so wide,
your eyes the hue of slates and muds: she lied
about your death, it seems, sweet man of smoke."
As the bread circles, so the banter soars.
She can see the Betsy belt the rider
as he yanks the mead from the young man's grip.
She doesn't notice. She doesn't care
anymore except for the man before her.
"She claimed you worked the travelling fairs, a man
of grease and moments caught in the swirl of rides -
a sixpence man, a candyfloss of smile
and kiss and grunt between the lights - she span
a tale of you, my friend! You pledged her a tide
of love: you left her flotsam, jetsam, a child."