mid-winter ice storm Lake Mendota
photos of Joni Mitchell by Joel Bernstein
no river but this lake
and not getting carried away
she tested if it would hold her
across the whole iced breadth of it
etched ever widening circles
arms stretched out
under a fringed edge cape
no river but these wings
Laura McKee really likes Boxing Day better than anything. Find her bubbling and squeaking on Twitter: @LauraMcKee_fyeh
Competing with Snow
He is always in the darkroom
or standing in the street. Either
way, his head is in the clouds.
I am left to decorate
the tree, to loop each bauble
on each branch, aiming for symmetry
in festive gold and green.
Outside, when I nail a wreath
to the door, he keeps his back to me.
I colour red as holly berries in shame.
In the steam of the kitchen,
I prepare turkey – hoick out giblets,
stuff with sage and onion.
I lace parsnips with honey,
score a neat cross in the end of every sprout,
line roasting trays with potatoes.
He keeps his camera close,
eye to the lens, head tilted and ready.
Even as I stand and carve dinner, he waits,
turned away, on the front lawn.
And when the snowflakes fall, he offers his hand
as if to steady them. What grace
I hear him whisper, as he holds
them softly in his palm until they melt.
Claire Walker’s most recent solo publication is Collision (Against the Grain Poetry Press, 2019). Her pamphlet Somewhere Between Rose and Black (V. Press, 2017) was shortlisted for Best Poetry Pamphlet in the 2018 Saboteur Awards. Claire is co-editor of Atrium.
Note: Wilson Bentley (1865-1931) devoted his life to studying and photographing snowflakes, calling them ‘miracles of beauty’.
just for you
Louisa Campbell’s first full collection of poems, Beautiful Nowhere, is a memoir about her experiences as both mental health nurse and patient, and was published in May 2021 by Boatwhistle Books. She lives in Kent, England.