The Turf Cutter’s Wife

The Turf Cutter’s Wife

 

1.

 

Beyond the brambled ridge in the pit

of the dell, her dress is pulled over her head,

a cotton kite, the chord of her spine rigid.

 

Their fingers have scythed the roses

on the scrumpled cloth, throwing over her face its plague

of flowers. The fabric is smeared with grass stains.

She is a string tied tight between two poles:

A line upon the earth along which to cut.

 

Naked.

 

Ants crawl over her.

At dusk,

The circle of bruises around her neck

Come out like stars; ten imploding suns,

One for every year she has lived.

 

2.

 

He unrolls the slices of caked earth,

smoothing down the green tufts.

She had not noticed the permanent thread

of dirt beneath his nails until, with sleeves rolled,

he had pressed her into the square of their bed, dropping her,

a hail of seed from his hand.

She thought only of mud

smeared across white, laundered towels,

of the burrowing of faceless worms.

 

He cuts his meat neatly into slabs

and lays them upon his tongue,

the same tongue that combs the grasslands of her belly,

while the rain soaks the bare soil and the seedlings green

and needle through.

The cut

and slice slides beneath her back,

cool as a spade.

She is still

like the frozen earth.

 

He loads turf,

And the yard is skinned and raw,

the sun drying to a scab

the place where flowers should grow.

3.

 

In an alley, concrete turfs remain separate.

Treading down gum, someone has tried to heal the fracture:

A world held together by the burst

bubbles of mouths that chew what they cannot swallow.

The hard brick wall shovels up her shoulders.

In her bag a wedding ring circles a tissue; the yellow band

of her skirt is pulled tight around her hips by strange hands,

nails white as ten new moons.

 

                                                    Maria Ede-Weaving

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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