A boy picks wishes
at the edge of the car-park,
a strip of ragwort and thistles
rising from gravel and turf
carved by tyre tracks.

He is not playing –
covered in its silky fibres
he harvests thistledown
with a sense of purpose
well beyond his years.

Balling it into his fist
he can feel his pulse
beating through it
like it’s a living thing;
able to grant his only wish.

He extricates a crumpled
seed from the rest
and blows it
away from his hand
with a pensive breath.

It rises askew, then drifts
meandering in a tangle
like a daddy-long-legs;
loitering in the boy’s
lengthening shadow.

A car backfires,
the grey sky condenses
into a barn owl
quartering the heath.
The boy turns back.

Published by The Open Mouse, 2nd June 2017


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