“Portrait of a Woman,” Zinaida Serebriakova, 1923, WikiArt.

Pale moon, cold light shadow-casting, family
Cottage empty, parents gone, sleepless nights,
I, Willow, find no peace amongst these stone
Walls, footstep-smoothed wooden floors. Night
Naked, I am lost, torn tween eternal beckoning:
Sea or misty hillsides. Anxious stares, who will
See me or even care? Sheer sash breast-clinging,
My feet feel moist earth, familiar smell of salt
Air, my body absorbed by loneliness on this
Hebridean summer night.

Do we live and die as seagrass? Little creeping
Things? Springtime sunlight bursting, life
Embracing, budding childhood, family, earth-
Enduring moments. Too painful to look back,
Youthful summer days. So, I felt, nightgown-
Clad ramblings, more imaged than real. Except,
Cliffside figure moved my way, mirror of myself,
As if reborn, resurrected from family graves.
“Did you see moon, planets?” she asked, island
Visiting from Scottish mainland.

“I’m Olivia,” she stated, extending city-soft
Right hand. “My first visit to outer ocean isles.”
By dark hair and face, distant cousin Olivia
Could have been, except her eyes were hazel,
Mine sea-slate grey. Cottage, I invited her for
Tea, fresh-baked honey-bread. Few tea sips,
Olivia said, “Think we are kin.” Such Highland
Accent, I could not tell if question or braved
Admission, two souls of different, city and
Ocean island, upbringing.

During her stay, Olivia realized I lived alone,
Sans mainland luxuries: electricity, running
Water. “Yes, daily duties,” I replied. “Water
Fetching, cooking, gardening, stacking peat.”
Beached boats we visited, Papa’s on its side.
“Once organized, fishing I will begin, working
Sails and nets.” Daunted by island labours,
Olivia stated, “I could not live like this.” Ferry
Missing anxious, she left. Whilst not kindred
Souls, during pale moonlight wanderings,
I wonder, will I see Olivia again?

Will Olivia reappear in Willow’s life and poetry?
Perhaps this is a beginning relationship? 
Thanks for reading.

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