I always thought that if you
were twenty years younger
and I as many older – well, anyway
there was salt on the air
and little skiffles of foam upon the loch;
you wore streaks of egg on your pullover.
Never seen you scarecrow before.
Your spine was ammonite,
your face overexposed, blotched,
like something dug up long ago.
Not long now, you said,
fragile as dandelion breath
when I met you on the road,
your voice a winter sky;
I demurred; and gave you a hug
as brisk as an official stamping a document
and filed you away, walked back to the car
as if it did not matter –
to make you feel that I felt that you
would live forever.
That was last October.
Today the loch lies flat, black
as the dilated pupil of a deadening eye.
Zoë Green is a Scottish poet who lives in the Thuringian countryside. She has won a Candlestick Press award, been shortlisted for the 2022 London Magazine Poetry Prize and been longlisted for the 2023 Spelt Poetry Prize. She received "Highly Commended" in the Scots poetry category of the 2023 McLellan Poetry Competition. When she’s not writing poetry, she’s teaching literature, boxing, walking her Brittany spaniel or doing yoga. She can stand on her head for several minutes at a time.