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When Winter Was My Friend

Maureen Scott Harris
From:   Island (Tasmania). summer 2008.


Doug said it's beautiful down at the lake today
steam rising from the water, as if the harbour were exhaling
into the cold morning air and its warm breath cloaked the ferry.
Here in the city, he said, it's colder.
I hunch into my jacket and half-close my eyes.
Blowing snow stings my face. I have too much to do.

When winter was my friend it would hold its hand out to me,
suggest a walk to see the sky, gleaming at the horizon.
I loved the tracery of branches -
sometimes threaded with snow like lace, sometimes swaying like seaweed -
making conversation with that sky.
Like my mother's old friend Daisy, the wind would pinch my cheeks
and I'd feel my skin reddening.

I remember making snow angels at dusk giddy with the failing light,
breath puffing out in clouds above me as I lay spent
from jumping in drifts and lumbering through games of tag,
cushioned in the soft white down.
When I went inside my mitts were caked and beaded with snow.
Have I ever felt better than I did then
coming into the house in the early dark
out of breath and my cheeks burning?

I'd like to lie down in the snow now and rest in its whiteness
a few flakes lightly batting my cheeks like a kitten
who is hungry or who wants to play. The wind
could stroke my forehead. Overhead, stars so bright
and so thick I'll reach up and pull them down around me.
Cradled in snow and sky, I might stay in that softness, humming



Maureen Scott Harris's works copyright © to the author.


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