This wet corner of England
was drained. Peat cut into neat
squares, wilderness arranged
like a village tray bake, roads laid
straight to create the illusion
of control. Planted, pollarded,
contained. July: behind hedgerows
cows chew, mute witnesses
to small-scale scandals. A skylark
trills on rollercoaster wings,
dogs clamour for their dinner,
and a woven figure points into the haze.
Willows lean like diviners towards
the reen, bendy sentries closing
roots around soggy boundaries;
shoots throwing shapes across the flats.
But water finds its level. Closer
ally to salt than soil, Somerset
sinks as the sea rises. Back there
where the lines of trees converge,
whole civilizations have vanished.
Wooden tracks could not withstand
the bog. Long before wicker: frogs.
Hilary Otto is an English poet and teacher based in Barcelona. She reads regularly in both English and Spanish. Her work has been published in Popshot Quarterly, Black Bough Poetry and Fixpoetry, and is forthcoming in AIOTB Magazine.