Cello music seeps through the wall like sunlight squeezes through closed curtains. I don’t recognise the tune but it reminds me of a shed door opening slowly to the scent of creosote and royal azaleas, the glint and shadow of an oiled sickle. I have never seen beyond the wall, though I know there’s a sepia square in which the cellist sits on a kitchen stool by a fountain pumping rubble. They have the head of a goat and are draped in an azure cloak. They have fingers like a ghost as they bow wood and sheep gut into shapes of sunflower gold. They have spent days – weeks, even – not breathing, for fear of catching fire, though their stiff hoof raps time on soot-smeared stone that shudders to the centre of the earth. Away down my garden, in the wall’s deep shade, the shed door swings in a capricious breeze and a nightingale takes up the song.




Oz Hardwick
Picture Nick Victor

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