Window panes bear the weight
of winter snow. Something unseen
leaves ice fingerprints on glass.
Inside the debris: torn paper hats
novelty shrapnel from crackers
screwed-up fists of wrapping paper.
Carollers sing of birds and gold rings.
You twist the band on your finger
where a vein runs to the heart.
His face returns, crisp as a snowflake.
Your hands want to make sense of him,
you won’t be able to hold him long.
Maria Taylor has been published in a range of magazines, including The Rialto, The North and Magma. Her debut collection Melanchrini was published by Nine Arches Press and shortlisted for the Michael Murphy Memorial Prize. She blogs at: http://miskinataylor.blogspot.co.uk/
Lying in bed, I listened to the muffled deadness
of falling snow, the world gone deaf,
blanked out, its heart shut close,
snow banking up, mutely filling the lane,
sweeping in waves, cresting the hedges,
miles of white stretching to the coast.
He came to me through the snow at midnight
like a dream. His car abandoned at the top of the valley,
he waded in oil-skins and galoshes through the drifts
to hammer and shout at my door. In such weather,
wouldn’t you, even a single woman
in an isolated cottage, let a stranger in?
I knew who he must be. No one but a doctor,
midwife or vet would be out in a white-out.
My dog stopped barking, as he let her sniff
his hand and squirmed in pleasure as he caressed her.
I did not know when I opened the door,
snow would continue to fall,
even when spring came, and summer,
a deep drift of impenetrable snow
we could not dig through, would not thaw.
Stephanie Green has an MPhil in C/W from Glasgow University (2004). ‘Flout’, her pamphlet inspired by Shetland landscape, folklore and culture, will be published by HappenStance, 2015 and launched at StAnza. Originally London-based, she moved, via Wales, to Edinburgh in 2000.
She finds the photo he sent her
of the leadlight window they slept under.
She remembers the single bed, the Surrey flat;
winter’s spectral morning creeping through
the rose-quartz and frostwork panes,
marbling his face;
how they curled
their hands around mugs of steaming tea,
felt bare floorboards under bare feet,
shivered under the coverless duvet;
how the still air held a faint trace
of evening’s bonfire, its damp remains.
Like children, they had puffed out
clouds of breath and steamed up
the mirror, shrouding their faces.
On the back of the photo:
the words to a song,
his smudged and faded writing.
Karen Dennison‘s poems have been published in magazines and anthologies. She won the Indigo Dreams Collection Competition in 2011 and her first collection Counting Rain was published in February 2012. Karen is editor and publisher of the pamphlet Book of Sand.