Mother and Daughterย 
(after the 2013 photograph by Gregory Crewdson)

When your mother walks barefoot
to your house, you welcome her,
the February morning,

pine-scented freeze that follows
like a phantom through the door.
A single set of tracks print snow

into the distance, past mute
clapboard houses, holding breath to listen.
Don’t ask her yet: lead her to the sofa,

take her head in your lap, light as an orchid.
Her negligee is torn,
her breast white with shivers

but don’t mention this, or even
for the moment speculate –
rest a hand on her hip,

another in her hot, tugged hair,
and worry that the clouds,
yellow in the sky, augur more snow.





Paul McDonald taught at the University of Wolverhampton for twenty five years, where he ran the Creative Writing Programme. He took early retirement in 2019 to write full time. He is the author of twenty books, which cover fiction, poetry, and scholarship. His most recent is Allen Ginsberg: Cosmopolitan Comic (2020)ย  Amazon author page: here