The Hillside

by Anna Kisby

The hillside is the dog on my doorstep. The hillside is unshiftable
as a sideboard – the great-grandmother’s antique I’m obliged to keep.

The hillside wears a headdress of oak, open-branched – no-one argues
with life-thickened arms like those.

The hillside is serrated – nettle, dandelion, thistle, fern – a pot-luck pie
of fans for hot days, games, a sting on the tongue.

The hillside is a hat – my little daughter pinned to it, an ornamental bird
in her red mac. The hillside finds it funny, how I stumble and grow old.

The hillside is a patient for the surgeon of the sky. The sun leapfrogs
the hillside as a drunk girl vaults a bollard.

I was that drunk girl. I told the time by dandelion, wet the bed for years,
made nettle risotto just the once. I am impatient, unhill-like, can’t name the birds

beaten from its ferns. Out of spite I’ll call the hillside a field I can’t be arsed to climb –
I’m the elderly gravida, hanging back to blackberry, handing her over to the custody of trees.

In response to William Shakespeare’s Sonnet 12, “When I do count the clock that tells the time”