• Vol. 09
  • Chapter 02
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He arrives each night
gently whinnying, his breath scented
with summer grasses and meadowsweet.
He tilts his head to one side as if to ask Where to?
and I clamber aboard his broad back
whispering Thattaway.

Fingers twined into the coarse hair of his mane,
I grip his flanks. We settle into the rhythm of his canter.

We follow country lanes, pausing only when
Clare points out a nest concealed in whitethorn
or Hardy bids us listen to a darkling thrush.
Beside a lake we watch as Old Man Wainwright
scratches his inky map of Scafell Pike.
We ford a stream where Constable
looks up briefly from his easel.
We jump a hedge where Hughes's Thoughtfox
shelters from the wind.

As dawn burns her way across a leaden sky
he lets me down and turns to go. I stir a little,
hear his hoofbeats on the cobbled street grow distant.

I bury my face in feathered pillows,
listen to the inhale, exhale of my own breath,
allow sleep to reclaim me.