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58 Lewis

5But blood of his calibre can’t be dismantled – a limb, once pulled from these people, grows back. He’ll be gathered from the high branches by well-practised hands,

and she will be blamed, with each crooked step as he lurches towards his old shape, his fingers flapping loose from the palm, his spine pitching; the drag of old wings, ghost-weight, at his shoulders.

He’ll shake off the feathers, grapple each hand to a fist. The tilt of his spine unlocked and inclining, he’ll stamp a path home through the clover, the low blooms.

6Odd evenings, I offer to fetch firewood from the copse. On my way, I pinch scraps from the kitchen – just cuts of fat, or green meat – slice them small, and leave them under the nearest oak to the stream.

Sometimes she gobbles them down; other times pecks with disdain, totters off.

She is much the same as when she first arrived at the court: unsure on her pins, pluck-plant-plucking her way through the field; and quiet, huge-eyed, with pupils that sway in the breeze.

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