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Jean Sprackland

Early on it was uncomfortable.

Patches of rough skin thickened on my back

and spread quickly like psoriasis.

I took a few heavy steps

as my clothes tattered into chains of ivy

round my legs.  I was thirsty, thirsty.

The tips of my fingers forked and forked again,

shivered into leaf.


A hot singing in the soles of my feet,

then the splintering of roots

like new teeth.  I welcomed the pain

because it meant they were through.

They knew their own purpose,

snaking into the earth

and dragging up water.


No more sense in movement,

in searching and striving

and all that truthless speech and touch.

Just simple encounters:

birds making casual use of my branches,

sheep coming to me for shelter.


Nothing to get done

but to suck in light,

translate it into green.


From Smoke No 51 (Winter 2003)

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