she is a harsh mother,
arthritic with hills and crags
cut deeper than crow’s feet.
her face is lined with ravines
her voice the roar of spume
on broken brown-toothed rock.
she passes boulders off as breasts,
belts her waist with an industrious past,
in her arms, she gathers firs
a grey and grizzled warrior, she is
bordered by ample hips, her tongue
a lash of thunderous voltage.
no season softens her, she drags
her children up on gorse and whin,
winters them without kindness.
she fires the hearth with ice or hail,
expects snow to pass for gentleness.
spring girdles her old in green.
if she holds you to her rugged breast
it is to pour the white-water scorn
of mountains on your head.
when she croons, she throws up seagulls.
sleeping, she drags a lumpen pillow
over the moon, punches out a few stars.
she’ll turn your dreams to Scotch mist,
bone comb your hair with tugging wind
scrub your faces with rain.
in your mouth she lodges a language
no one speaks, in your heart a stone.
but if you go from her
a wild song and dance will follow
to bind you forever son or daughter,
make you sick for home.