The necklace

was a gift from where they mine it out of the mountains.
Haematite: an iron stone. Dense beads
as grey as the metal; polished.

It is cold against its wearer
till it borrows some of their blood heat

and if they should move too freely
its clatter against their collarbones

will give them pause before they act
will enforce a certain
slow care.

I like to slip the catch and lower it, one
bead at a time, into the cupped hand of anyone
who asks about it.

Feel the weight, I say. I say

And I sometimes say, a friend
brought me the gift of it
from iron country.

No-one has ever closed their hand to keep  it or
made to try it on

though I give them time enough
before I take it up, with slow care, resettle
round my throat.



Judith Taylor lives in Aberdeen, where she co-organises the monthly Poetry at Books and Beans events. Her first collection, Not in Nightingale Country, was published in 2017 by Red Squirrel Press, and she is currently working on a second.  More here: