Under the pavements I’ve hidden
My map, drawn in black and carmine,
Saved for my daughters. The lessons
In reading it were secret ones, held early
In the morning: they swore on pain of death
To keep it between the three of us.
The land flushed with light as I wrote
Upon it—the trees sprouted incalculably vast
Blossoms, though it was already autumn.
People said it was the second coming,
The end of the world: why else should we
Be graced with beauty like it? I wrote a book
Explaining that everyone likes to be called
By the right name, and they burned my book
In the city squares, and the trees bloomed
Again, it was spring as you dream of it,
Not as it comes. And during the winter,
The weather was no warmer than usual,
Only more fragrant—as if I’d asked for
Something in return, as if there were love
In the map, not greed. Under the pavements
My daughters are reading the map, they
Whisper it into each other’s ears and
Wait for the world to be swamped with
Unseasonal blossom, the smell of me.
Chloe Stopa-Hunt has twice been a Foyle Young Poet of the Year, and won the English Poem on a Sacred Subject Prize in 2010. Her poems have appeared in journals and anthologies including Magma, Oxford Poetry, and Best British Poetry 2013. This is her website.