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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & General Editor
Volume 9, Number 4, December 2015


Alison Lock
Holmfirth, West Yorkshire, England

In the Dying Light

The finger ends of each day are stretching under the blankets of leaves releasing the scents of the woodland floor; autumnal. The horse chestnut opens its spiky, green buds, splitting apart but firmly clasped until the point of perfect ripeness—and I am there, again—with my three small boys collecting conkers, filling our pockets, using our jumpers for baskets. The older one tests for solidity, biting for hardness, seeking a champion; the middle one, looks for the shiniest, the golden jewel; while the younger one kicks up the earth, lifts bundles of leaves into the air, scattering, yelling with delight. Then the young ones chase after their brother, both wanting the very one he has just pocketed. There's a scuffle, a scrabble, a rolling around, a fight. 'Hey, look at what I've found!' I say. Distracted from the battle, they run over to me. I show them the perfect case, newly split, the birth of a marbled pair—twin conkers.

bright leaves
flutter to earth—
spinning pinwheel



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