Saturday, April 09, 2011

NaPo 11: 9 April - Snowdrop 5.1: Life on the Hill

Snowdrop 5.1: Life on the Hill

"Wake up! Wake up! We 'as to move
before the dogs do 'unt -
they'll take us down like rats out 'ere
an' rip us limb from joint!"
There's snow on the hill: sprinkles of chill
trapped by the blades of tufted grass
which knobble the chalk. A numbness blankets
the child-woman's limbs: her lungs gulp at
the rising miasma; ribbons of spittle
spool from the side of her salty lips
to frost on the earth. Her eyes are solid -
she cannot see. Her sight refuses
to start its magic, its meagre attempt
to sort some points of purposeless light
into an image, an instance of landscape,
burns a poker of pain through her head.

"Wake up! Wake up! You 'as to move!
We 'as to go to church!
The hunt won't follow us in there
within its stony arch."
Something touches: a tremor of fire
levels a path along her nerves,
plucking her skin with pinscrapes, echoes
of heart pulses pulling her joints
towards movement. A tightness in her bladder
cajoles her towards disjointed coherence.
A form is before her - the face of a boy
fresh to the stubble that stipples his chin.

"Wake up! Wake up! We 'as to go
before the light do fail!
The church is just across this ground -
no more than 'alf a mile."
Slowly she rouses, stretches her legs
and works her hip away from the hill.
A thirst from the crypt catches her throat.
On her knees, she spots a splint of ice:
she lowers her head level with the soil
and licks at the frosts that fruit on the leaves.

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