Charlotte in Her Natural Habitat

AMANDA ANASTASI

Charlotte in Her Natural Habitat

After a hot morning unexpectedly clarified with rain
and once dew had settled on the lightly shook leaves,

she was led out by hand to a wall-less space; unhurried
yet purposeful, her headset, shoes and mask removed.

Suddenly alert, her eyes darted to the soft sky as though
she were entering a new yet familiar portal. Her feet met

a padded ground less tightly woven than carpet and firmer
than a mat and, without pause, threw herself into the green.

Each blade, when taken between the fingers, seemed a cross
between cotton and the porous skin of a cheek. The air

itself was open, punctuated by both distant and near snippets
of birdsong, though mum could not say what kind of bird it was

that repeated that upward, mischievous invitation and seemed
to betray a knowledge that all was possible and ridiculously easy.

As the heat began its return, she asked when she’d be taken
again to The Secret Garden and the magical setting of her many

storybooks and films. Mum said Yes, again – of course
with eyes averted and dimmed, as she could not say when.

© Amanda Anastasi, 2020.