End of Girlhood and other poems

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End of Girlhood

The first time
a tree called me by name,
I was thirteen and only spoke a weave of ordinary tongues.

It started with a leaf and next,
a mist came down from the hills, beating a lone skin drum,
looking for me.

Scarlet pimpernels dropped hints
that could not be ignored:
no red is innocent.

Badger trails called me aside for a word.
Come underground, they said,
see what we are made of.

Cutting the Chord

the midwife
spoke with a northern tongue
he could hear the sea of
two meanings
he said
it was his first act as father
that freed him

Protest

One cut and the hair worn since childhood
fell upon the floor
dead soft.

A spear-thistle;
her new, bald skull
refused order.

She belonged to heather
and in tail-streams
cupping frogs,

delighting
in the small, green pulse of life
between palms,

not here:
at the dark centre of reunions, separations,
starved of air.

This was a protest of love, against love
demanding
sun, rain, wilderness.

From a finger, she slid a band
placed it underfoot,
pressed down

until the stone
made the sound of a gold chestnut
cracking open.

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