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KATHERINE BANNER

NON-CONTACT

Driving across Bowes Moor
(where eight-foot poles
mark the road in winter)
level with a cloud, glancing
down to see its shadow
picking a way over
the valley's cuts and folds,
a jet came upon us, obliquely,
with a noise buffet
sufficient to cause a swerve
which would have been
not quite enough
and, in any case,
too late to save us
had we been his target.

He turned and cruised
the length of the dale,
parallel, with a casual,
distance-deceptive slowness
then swept in front
for a banking finish:
the flourish of a machete
skinning the fells.