The Wishing Tree

I stand neither in the wilderness
nor fairyland

but in the fold
of a green hill

the tilt from one parish
into another.

To look at me
through a smirr of rain

is to taste the iron
in your own blood

because I hoard
the common currency

of longing: each wish
each secret assignation.

My limbs lift, scabbed
with greenish coins

I draw into my slow wood
fleur-de-lys, the enthroned Brittania.

Behind me, the land
reaches toward the Atlantic.

And though I’m poisoned
choking on the small change

of human hope,
daily beaten into me

look: I am still alive—
in fact, in bud.

More by Kathleen Jamie

from Ultrasound (i)

                    (for Duncan)

Oh whistle and I’ll come to ye,
my lad, my wee shilpit ghost
summonsed from tomorrow.

Second sight,
a seer’s mothy flicker,
an inner sprite:

this is what I see
with eyes closed;
a keek-aboot among secrets.

If Pandora
could have scanned
her dark box,

and kept it locked—
this ghoul’s skull, punched eyes
is tiny Hope’s,

hauled silver-quick
in a net of sound,
then, for pity’s sake, lowered.