Dawn over a white field. A fresh mantle of foot deep snow
and two greying silhouettes
talking haltingly, moving haltingly against the tree-line
against the coming light
that brings for them a final throw at what by now
5am and I’m bolt upright, sweating with someone else’s pain
in my chest.
Outside it’s snowing again – the lake packed with ice
makes the sound of metal
under an approaching train – snapping tensing as
the body does.
We stand on the moors and watch as the clouds fold in.
Lightening opens the sky
like a flung knife and, for a second it’s visible again.
Your contortionist’s grimace,
that mask of shock that holds then falls as the snow does –
unfurling from the sky
like a flag.
It’s spring but it could be autumn. We sit in the garden
under the leafless rowan
in the same place you first told me only now the snow
is smeared with mud.
Standing, I half expect you my mother to keel right over.
Carrying you back I feel it – in the empty cup of my hand
your new weight.
Grief surely is the loneliest animal. It hunts in the small hours.
In the corridor between sleep
and being in some form alive, in some way awake enough
to hear you up again.
Rustling around the kitchen like a pile of dead leaves.
the calm of first light that if translated would read
Dusk over a white field. A smattering of new snow, and against
a blackening silhouette walking around like a child
holding a hand
that isn’t there.
‘Snow Country’ won the 2013 Poetry Competition and was published in Issue 58 of Magma).
Dom Bury is from Devon and now works in London. He has been published in a number
of magazines and anthologies including Ambit, Poetry Wales, The North, Magma, and
Best British Poetry 2014. He won the 2013 Magma Poetry Prize and is currently editing Magma Issue 64 with Jon Stone on the theme ‘Risk’.
‘Snow Country’ by Dom Bury