Lilbourne

The dead linger in some places.
At old Lilbourne they gather in hill folds
saunter through the churchyard
wander down paths behind cottages.

Their chatter settles in my ear
wriggles into my mind unsettlingly
until I find myself talking
to a dead shepherd.

Up at the Giants Grave,
misnamed ancient tomb
on chalk escarpment edge,
the dead are different.

Amongst lean faced hide-clad mourners,
Clutching stone tools, flint tipped arrows,
others lumber whitely, ungainly in bulky suits,
helmeted and dumb.

A wiry dog snuffles at my feet
petted by a curly haired woman
with a wide American smile.
A man unscrews his lid, chatters in Russian.

As one, old and new, they all look up
excited, wondering,
exchanging gestures
as the ISS streaks overhead.

Copyright © 2021 Kim Whysall-Hammond

‘Lilbourne’ was published by Milk and Cake Press in  the  anthology  ‘Dead of Winter’, February 2021, available here.

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