New Poem : By The Light Of The Snow

By The Light Of The Snow

Sometimes, I forget that winter will end,

and I cry, out there, between the huddle

of pines by the woodshed, my back to the house

so my weakness will travel away from you.

 

This is the last thing my husband

said to me.

 

The last thing before I found

him cold on the pillow.

 

I thought it so unusual

that he hadn’t risen

with the sun.

 

And when I touched his shoulder,

it was frozen heavy.

 

It took me seventeen hours to bury him.

 

I dug through the hardly there

light of day, and continued well

into the dark hours, digging

by the light of the snow,

 

thanking the freeze

for keeping the smell

of his carcass from travelling

through the trees and drawing

the wolves down.

 

I couldn’t move my hands

for a day afterwards.

 

It has been a week since it happened,

since my husband forgot about spring,

and perished on his pillow.

 

I started this morning picking

raven feathers out from between

the cattle’s teeth.

 

I am relishing this silence

more than I thought I would,

though I still cry after every climax.

 

I wonder if I buried him right,

or if there was something I should

have said when I was putting him in the ground.

 

Somewhere, in the distance, I hear a dog barking.

 

I find myself wishing for them, the townsfolk,

not to find me. I don’t hear the bark again.

 

I wonder if they prey for us in the town.

I hope not. I want to be lost to memory.

I want them to say they are both part

of the woods now.

 

Because we both are.

 

Instead of going mad midwinter,

I make friends with the ghosts,

and read by the light of the snow.

 

When spring arrives, I don’t disturb

the thin black bears as they forage for roots

in the earth still stiff with frost.

 

I eye the tall mountains, wonder what

would stand between me and my love

if I were to stand at the top

of the tallest one.

 

I whistle for the dog,

pack a sack with bread

and the meat my husband

didn’t eat this winter.

 

And I start walking.

 

My latest poetry collection In The Hours of Darkness is available to buy now.

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