Rebecca Goss

Rebecca Goss

Pheasant in Rear-View Mirror

Only I see it,
running the width
of the glass, parting grasses
in eager scurry,
its plumage a spectacle
and your shiny fringe
bobbing in the foreground.

We are about to
make our way inside a wood,
parked at its entrance
yet I let the engine
tick a little longer, this encounter
holding a small significance,
your body yet to realise

we are stationary,
that you can soon
escape your seat and enter
through the kissing gate;
the bird you never saw gone,
its iridescence
a failing flare in the meadow.

The click of a car seat unbuckling.
You have made your decision
to leave this space,
because inside the car with your mother
you won’t see
Brimstone butterflies,
the seasonal ponds,

the coppiced limes’
determined stretch towards light.
It’s hard to understand
that you ever step on pavements,
as you skip beyond
the gate’s kind admission.
Let me stall

the acceleration of your days
by bringing you here.
An ancient wildness
to slow the quickness
of your growth.
A realm that knows
my wish to stay within its hold,

sees your hair
lit by what can filter
from above,
your body appearing
and vanishing in succession;
a bird sighted,
thrilled at, then flown.

REBECCA GOSS is the author of three full-length collections, The Anatomy of Structures (Flambard Press, 2010), Her Birth (2013) and Girl (2019) both with Carcanet. Carousel, a collaboration with photographer Chris Routledge was published by Guillemot Press in 2018.