Last breath

by Jane Lovell

Drawing the field-edge to a knot,
scanning windward sweeps of scrub,
eyegold splashed from ferric pools,
she is the buffeted grass,
a demon crow, a sudden curl of smoke
tearing lungs of fieldmice
their redcurrant hearts.

Lost amongst paths of vanished towns
desolate farms, rusting tractors,
she wanders every breath of wind
a question mark at beech and blackthorn,
her heart a perfect damson,
galls rooted in the tissue
of her belly.

She allows me her full weight
only with the last breath.
The violet oil of absence fogs her eyes
and she is gone.
Still we expect her soft tread
over wet grass, stone path
cold tiles.