Margaret Atwood: Hidden

26 November 2018


In the warm dusk over the exhausted trees
outside the farmhouse, in the scent
of soft brick and hot tin,

weeding among the white-pink peonies,
their sugary heads heavy and swollen,
I can hear them breathing out
and then out again, as if giving up.

It's June, the month when the dead
are least active though most hungry

and I'm too close to the ground, to those
who have faded and merged, too close
to contagion. Hidden in the border somewhere
near, a bone sings of betrayal.

My fingers are wet with bruised
green stems and dewfall.
In this season of opening out,
there is something I want closed.

The sun sinks and the body darkens
from within: I can see the light going out of my hands.

I doubt that I ever loved you.
I believe I have chosen peace.

Think of this as the dormant phase
of a disease.

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