STICKLAND

It’s a stickland out there.

Winter scraggles and impromtu sculptures

Old bones curling stiff

and twisted in strange twists (or trysts with strangers)

Rigamortis sculptures,

their starkness against the morning sky

softened by leavish things.

Their toes curling, pulling back, retreating from the cold, slapping hand of Winter.

Not reaching,

Not thrusting forward—as they would into the mothering arms of Spring.

A woman would push past the withering

and colour outside the lines of her lips

(a little bewildered at the shrinkage)

but determined to face the world with the warm fullness

that beauty demands

looking in her mirror ever afterwards

with glazed eyes to soften the effect.

The thinning hair of the Willow hag falls toward the ground

hanging in strings from her bowed head—

I can almost hear her toothless snores.

Rabbit and squirrel tracks mar the snow.

Everything looks used and almost greasy

The sun shines bright in the South East

like the one eye of the Willow hag,

open, ever-watching, even as she sleeps.

A mourning dove sits alone on the flexed arm of the Oak, thinking her own thoughts—

while three baby squirrels, two black, and one grey, chase each other in a winding game, up and down and around the trunks of the split Oak—in  a kind of rambunctious oblivion,—flipping their tails at the conservative winterly stillness.

They were probably too much for their own mother, sweeping acorn caps from their nest until, in a fit of squirrelish exasperation and amidst a stream of motherish chatter, she finally swept them all out to play in the snow.

I realize in an overwhelm of sudden—realization—that I am lonesome for snow suits and rosy cheeks and lost mittens and incessant demands and little cold hands.

I sit by my window

in my empty nest

remembering—and uninterrupted

feeling a little lost

…a writer without a pencil.

 

by Robin Skelhorn

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