Susan Lilley


Somewhere along the line I stopped swinging
and have almost forgotten how it feels
to sweep the ground with my own hair
leaning back on the plain plank seat
under the waning sun, arms straight,
hands on the creaking ropes, pushing
gravity away with my feet
in an upside-down flight to the top
of some invisible pinnacle, a long second
of impossible geometric standstill, toes touching
the gold leaves of the oak's most down-
gestured branch. The callow twilight
pinks up the sky and I am so nearsighted
that the world is dreamspotted
like a Monet. It will be another year
before glasses are prescribed and I see
individual leaves on trees and
the certainty of death.
But at ten, my eyes slitted against the rich
wind, I listen to the ropes and distant,
air-borne voices, my parents young
and always alive across the blurred hedge,
talking of dinner and trimming azaleas.