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by Colleen Higgs

Tree Silhouettes and Golden Sky
Tree Silhouettes and Golden Sky
David H Wells
You can have a perfect afternoon up on a hill, above a valley, it can be overcast, full of love, the grass ripe and if you lie on your back you can see the sky through the grass, and it's like seeing the face of God, and still and yet, you know you have to let go, you sit above the railway line and hear sheep across the way bleating and you also bleat, loudly in different octaves. It's like waiting - sitting there, not for the train to come, because it's already come and gone, not for night to fall, because it will, not for it to start raining, not really for anything, just for itself, waiting for a bit of time to pass and because there isn't anywhere you'd rather be just then, than exactly there, and then it becomes time to go, to get up and he knows it too. The two of you walk to the car, parked at the gate, you cross the tracks, climb through the fence, open the car door, let him into the passenger seat, call the dog to get in too and then you drive home. And it's evening, sunset, and there are the animals to feed and the hose to move to the next pecan tree and supper to eat. And all the while your heart is breaking and you can't breathe, because you know you have to let go, because you can't carry on like this, you can't write or breathe like this, there aren't enough empty spaces, blank pages, open hours, and you need them like you need water and air, and yet your heart which you didn't think could break again, is breaking and you know that you have to let it, you have to let go, because you can't do otherwise, the dreams of choking won't subside, and you know that you won't live or work in strength, if you don't let go, and you don't want to, but you know you have to, and you love him so, love how your bodies fit together, love his tender vibrating hands and his lips, and the energy coursing in his body, you love him and you have to let go, you don't know why, just that you do, and you think of the face of God, the grass on the hillside, the clouds, and the line of the hill, and of all the beauty that is there for its own sake and of all the suffering. And you think that the earth is our mother, our old mother who holds us to her breast even when we bite and kick and deplete her, still she holds us in strong arms, her heart beating, her heart breaking in love and suffering and she's very old, almost eternal.

BIO: Colleen Higgs is a South African writer who has published poems and stories in literary magazines in South Africa for the past 15 years, and has recently published Halfborn Woman, a book of her poems. She lives with her husband and two year old daughter in Cape Town, she works at the Centre for the Book there.

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