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From the Eroded Woods by Jayd Green

Let’s ask where we’re going. Dunwich could mean woods or the old harbour. The tide comes in while we’re in the restaurant and walking to the car is different this time. Carlton marshes could mean the marsh, its box-ticking soil type. Or it could mean a wheat-coloured field: grass so tall we climb through it, gangling. We lay down and spread our arms like snow-angels, and the grasshoppers never stop, their plump green bodies, wearing shorts doesn’t matter because we haven’t got ticks in Thetford yet, the broken stems leave red pin-pricks on my arms and I think, oh this is Dunwich with the conifers acupuncturing the heath and I’m looking at the canopy, deep within the graphing, we’re all pretending, about surface

secrets we can’t tell anyone, don’t have the words yet — don’t know this mosaic —

We walked for hours in circles: Corton Woods, Dunwich Woods, the beach. We’d arrive in

cars and act like martyrs — we took our rubbish home with us! Very clever summers spent

jobless and rambling, like we were kinda cool, with ferns as spurs, kicking pinecones out of

the way in favour of sticks that spelled our names, I wasn’t very good at conversations, I’d

stay out of it looking disconnected, but really I was listening, to learn something, I wanted to

be left there alone but never quite had the impetus to run, holding a Christmas bauble filled

with green, choosing to forget certain things but not others and sometimes I couldn’t stop

it, knowing me and mum share something in that staying at home all night was scarier than

the woods in the dark, all the same I’d pick those beer cans up and take them home, it

comes back to me, these interruptions, but we always make it back to the start of the trail:

wooden post, cylinder, dipped in yellow paint.

We sit in the garden and watch for bats, talking about the science behind it. I can’t pick the

lichen from the oval table, my nails don’t have enough grip. We talk about how when our

breath leaves us, tiny flies gather, and moths come to eat them, and then bats come to eat

the moths, dipping and clipping the air between us and the conifers, between us and the

house, over our heads. I suppose it is meant to be comforting, but I find moths too cloying,

and the bats — I don’t know their faces — they could be anyone — I lower my head, my

spine arches itself — a deep curvature or willowing — each spinal node clicking — an empty carapace — or tectonic plate — too big for my puny body — splinter under the weight of it — so I put my head back again to catch soft zipping back and forth — and I think I might talk more about it — but my tongue is too fat and dry — to make something palliative — teeth clicking — being reminded to go back inside — ‘I don’t want to watch someone die’ — spilled out in the car — as if I hadn’t been watching all along —


Jayd Green is a poet and essay writer living in Norwich. She is currently writing a PhD, with the University of Suffolk, concerned with rewilding and nature writing.


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