When we were let out of the classroom,
I felt safer on the ground than in the firs,
where the others congregated like magpies
and cackled at the 7 year old outsider
with the big glasses and story books under her arm.
I busied myself among hedgerows and shrubs,
little fingers plucking rosehips, packing the pockets
of my hand-me-down wax jacket that forever smelt of silage.
The berries reminded me of my mother’s belly,
in the photographs where there was always too much sun.
I don’t remember who told me how to eat rosehips,
who told me to wait until the first frost,
until they’d frozen then thawed.
How then they’d be sweet and good to eat.
I don’t remember who told not to take
too many, because the birds needed them more.
I don’t remember who told me they’d keep me safe,
but I’d always put a couple under my pillow
to ward away the ghosts who’d
gather at my bedroom window.