All winter I will feast on stories
of how the blue lorry stops
at the mountain spring
to collect water
or the fox lays a trail –
its black spoor along the sendero.
The jabali, we couldn’t see, push
their snouts against the netting
to nibble sweet grapes. Almonds
come in two shapes: smooth-edged
amollares, sharp macones
and you need both in one field.
The dark mouth in a sandy bank
we thought was an owl’s nest
turned out to be a hole for hiding
a wine bottle or maybe a gun.
Yellow striped ants march
under buds of rock rose
or vetch which look like blood
splattered in the scrub.
Everything turns silver in the heat
and the blue lorry fills tanks
at the top of the hill in case
water is needed to douse a fire.
The same water’s left out
for partridges, lured
by a bird in a cage singing
on the dry hillside. We bent down
to tug at the esparto grass
so tough it’s used to make sandals.
Between Relleu and Sella
we trod a mule track
hundreds of years old.
I will tell myself these stories all winter
when our hearts are shuttered
and the sky is relentlessly dark.
Maria Jastrzebska has been to the Almassera several times. Her published collections include 'Everyday Angels' (Waterloo Press), 'I'll be Back Before You Know It' (Pighog Press) and 'Syrena' from Redbeck Press http://www.poetrypf.co.uk/mariajastrzebskapage.html