The Snows

They arrived overnight, gossip
fogging the lane in muffled footsteps,

heavy breath. Silver-tongued
and ice cool, the knitting club

cast off Mr Snow as another fool
who could break the heart of a mirror,

turn the sky into a swan’s feather
and have the neck to whistle it down.

Beautiful, wraithlike, the wife wafted
around town, rising and falling like water.

She never spoke to a soul. It was clear
what flowed through both of them. Some said

they’d seen The Snows drifting naked
through their gardens. There were rumours

of translucent skin. Two hearts fluttering
like lovebirds, half starved, snowed in.

All winter they worked on the dream house,
tore its doors off, ripped up floors, stripped

everything bare. The body of the old boiler
laid out on the front lawn while sterile fibres

webbed the windows. On the coldest nights,
neighbours watched for signs, reported

silhouettes grabbing handfuls of each other
before falling to the floor, tall shadows

melting together. Women sat and cried,
rocked themselves silent in the corners

of warm kitchens infused with whiskey
and cinnamon. Men stared at the moon

through bedroom windows, and later,
tucked deep inside the fleece of Christmas Eve,

they all dreamt of rolling downhill
with The Snows. Tumbling with them,

they unwrapped their bodies from sheets
of white silk, only to find them gone,

slipped through the fingers of first light.
By morning, all that was left were teardrops

frozen and scattered on the lane,
flickers of wings looking for skin.



Joanne Key lives in Cheshire. Her poems have appeared in various places online and in print. She won 2nd prize in the 2014 National Poetry Competition.





The Spectral Penguin

He is almost invisible, silvered in plain sight;
feathers glisten in ultimate camouflage white
– we forget his eyes as they track
our trudges through bleakest
austerity. He rather fancies a tasty fish.
We muse on turkey, stuffing , who will spear
that coveted last roast parsnip. Tell children
Father Christmas will know each sneak pinch
of their little brother’s arm, each choccie filched
from Nana’s Milk Tray – but they’re savvy,
the kids, they know a bribe.
The spectral penguin waddles against adversity
– no matter to him the failed John Lewis audition,
and that Attenborough chap cutting his finest work –
he bobs strong from webbed foot to webbed foot
outside fake-snowed windows, ready to plunder
unguarded fish fingers. He watches – his time is nigh.
Holly Magill is from Worcestershire. Her poetry has appeared in various publications, including Poets’ Republic, Clear Poetry and The Morning Star. She has no shelves for any elves.  Twitter: @HollyannePoet