Clare Hornsby

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In Charlbury graveyard, date unknown

When I finally lie down beside my sister
Should we be top-to-toe
As those nights in damp beds
In the wayside French hotels of our childhood
Before the autoroute was made?

Or head to head
Leaning in to talk, talk, laugh
When, as young women, we shared everything
Like lovers?

When I slip under the thick turf
The heavy sods of Oxford clay
Will coolly weight my aching chest
And shield me from more damage
Than I can further bear

And as long as I can hold the soul of her hand
And stroke the soul of her wild dark hair
I can rest
While in the narrow valley beyond the stile
Quiet cows stride and clouds
Lay shadows over us.