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The High Country
- Rhian Gallagher
An angel circled above Ben Ohau Range.
Heat radiated from the schist, the air felt migrated.
When it is winter I cannot be here
but it is like winter's echo
immersing in cloudy blue meltwaters,
I shake with clarity and refrigeration.
The wind stirring above the range
and the angel, a parachute with no body.
And when the lonely willow comes to me
I lie under the darkness of it
looking up through a tress of leaves.
I think of my new life that is always arriving
and I think of my dead, who have left the plains
and gone to the place of never-again.
I am forever passing myself like an ancient.
She who is a stranger looks back and asks:
``Are you the one who saw an angel
circling above Ben Ohau Range?''
• Rhian Gallagher's first collection, Salt Water Creek (London: Enitharmon, 2003), was short-listed for the Forward Prize for First Collection. She will take part in a reading at the Dunedin Public Library on National Poetry Day, Friday July 22, 7-9pm. (Bookings essential.)