A Day at Thomas Hardy’s House

Light unfolds in the branches just
so. The National Trust Centre isn’t open
yet—our Eurocar slows down—touch
grass, leave the airlock, bones hollowing,
bird-light—you could play them
like woodwind. Dorset is wintering
at relativistic speeds—I am wearing my good
cat ears: glittering oil, refracting
light. Dead leaves are liquid; wring them
drown Wessex in brackish milk.
The cottage is still like a mosquito in amber
sheltering dinosaur blood. Yes he was
born here, Dorset let him never get
over it. The trees bared as
always as we return to the café,
along the wood-path. The same thrush
song in air, same bending of
light through leaves/what is leaving. Returning
in lines, in a trickle, a kid
in a mauve tutu and cat ears meows at me and
I meow in return. I rest their doll
on my back. I’m a cat too,they say and I purr
in kind. Our back-paws sodden
with pale sun, liquifying earth. The frost is beginning
to evaporate, shadows shorten. I meow good
-bye, take care of your doll, remember—travel
. The visitor centre is closing