Fire

Marking our winters together,

first up in the morning checks the embers,

so any vital signs might be rekindled.

.

Failing that, I journey out to fetch the coal,

perhaps a well seasoned cherry log, our treat,

odour – vermillion. Slipper shod round to the shed,

contemplating cold patterned leavings in the snow.

.

I consider the teeth clenched path; you warm in tangled bed,

then, lamenting the lazy left last time bucket,

slide down to empty tinker crunch ash,

playing the ice orchestra and wishing above all for wellies.

.

Darling, the clinker hill reaches the sky,

in far off spring we will push it down

to the ditch below the snow line,

between where we live and the cows.

.

Swinging up to the house to scrunch last week’s news,

I lay morning sticks crackling from an orange string bag,

then sparingly, the coal, but leave room for breath.

Striking a match I turn on the life support, a tender touch paper,

sharing the conviction that our winter child will thrive.

Thaw

Forgotten

in locked allotments

bracing brass monkey feet

she

dug

deep

with clenched teeth

through frozen clods

customarily turning over old leaves

 until

she                                                                     slipped

and gripping glass

g

u

i

l

l

o

t

i

n

e

d

her pinkie finger tip.

.

As shock welled

to fill iced water butts

she saw her isolation reflected hard as winter

and lifting her mangled digit

in surrender

staggered bleeding to the gate.