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puckering sour

the spiny bush squats

hushed in tart stillness

smelling of the memories

bottled in the larder

she sits in the kitchen

keeping her hands moving

thumbs circling like two small animals

taking it in turns to stroke

each other’s aching shoulders

she will wait all winter

as days darken and death prowls

knuckles swelling

as the bitter sloes

loosen in their jar

until one cold march morning

when her airman

lands on the prickly doormat

and the suckering stems

break into blossoms of snow