Someone was standing in the middle of the road.
She stood astride it, just beyond
the blind spot on a sharp, countryside bend,
so hidden that I nearly ran her over.
At first, she seemed an ordinary figure
— jeans, a fitted t-shirt, long brown hair —
but for the confidence with which she stood
where any car would slam straight into her.
Almost as soon as we jerked to a halt
and I got out the car to remonstrate,
the space around her ruptured
with the opening of wings
as colourful as the flocks of paradise.
She stretched her hand towards me, said
I know you’ll take good care of it and poured
from her palm into mine a sleeping child,
scarcely the size of a nut and sprouting
from its belly a shoot topped off by a tiny leaf.
I tried to ask the obvious questions, but she
folded herself from our vision.
I felt her gift stir slightly, though it slept
as soundly as it does now in my hand.
How can I drive on with this entrusted to me ?
I’m rooted here, keeping watch
on the growth of what is planted in my palm —
this difficult, unasked-for joy.
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