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Shivering, wintered in my ninth year
I saw a dead fox at Went Coppice,
Eyes translucent
Dumb fur
Run out paws
Limbs frozen in mid leap
Later that morning, I told my mother
She nodded and pressed me into service
At the washing line
Holding a plastic bowl while
She dropped in wooden clothes pegs
Which rattled like chicken bones
We carried bed sheets stiff with hoarfrost
Into the house to thore
I wheeled in the gas fire
Squeaking on dry castors and
Huddled close, fingers aching with cold
The coiled white steam of my breath visible
Neither of us spoke of the frivolous expension of butane
My father had stipulated only one room
To be heated at a time
My mother boiled eggs in the kitchen
Wearing gloves, coat and scarf
We ate by the stove
Our lips greasy with yolk as
The sheets softened into slumped, white ghosts
I drive them out now
Those emissaries of distant winter
But the dead fox refuses to leave
I trace his anthracite shadow
Across this blanched parabola of land
To where the field, permanently cold
Retains eidetic rumour
Of hoarfrost.

2012