David Abbott

Secret History


Heady ghosts. Tyre swing. The tape rip noise of motorway. Here the lady gone-in-her prime, here the boy dead before his time. Here the man whose throat was slit from ear to stinking ear, body dumped into the lake, spirit that haunts the lonesome underpass as a light hovering just above the ground. Here the oak that has perished, that lies on its side. Plump stump, rotund wreck of tree that I have climbed to watch my dog run rings around and finally give up on the thrown-toy she can't find. Here the view of stinging nettles, shaggy inkcaps, a stonechat's stony chat, two yaffles, a heron out of place over the copse. There Barn Woods where a party of late-nighters heard a baby cry from the ruined cottage and gasped ghost. Can you see the palimpsest coming wonderfully apart? A cartwheel of crows blown from windy tops, the dog chasing every single leaf and I can't hear anything but wind in things. This was once a field of wheat, that hedgerow was laid 45 years ago and hasn't ever been relaid and isn't that a great shame. I know because I have walked here every day since. Downed ash. Five parakeets. Non native/native bird chat. Harp sounds, packed-in ghouls. O edge of old field now sown for wildflowers, I hear your thousand stories. You electric light, you dashing energy! Yellow leaves accumulate in the rutted paths, crushed 'rooms, black mud, organ pipe trees and cathedral light. Blustery vestibule sheltering yesteryear.

November 2, 2022

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