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Levels by Hilary Otto


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

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.

Twitter @hilaryotto


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