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3 Jan 14

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collections –
“A Somersault of Doves”
“air dumplings and paper cutlets”,
George Mann Publications




Snow maiden

Like playing cards cascading from the hands of a master,
boarding the train you’re hitching a ride on, again,
differing versions of you jump from in-between carriages,
the cold a wire fastening your frame.
I push past you now in a shower of photographs, postcards,
fifty, sixty, a hundred years later, your earlier
schoolgirl eyes fixed on something passing you by:
your feet scissoring fast for a train you can’t miss.
As storks lift pensively from warmed chimneys,
you’ve latched yourself onto angel-free-rider steps.
A snow maiden, frosted eyes wide at strange forests, white,
unknown hills, a red dash of fox, sliding past,
your breath suspended in turreted icicles,
yourself silvered. As birches ricochet this skyline,
you must hurl your frozen form from this train,
night-wings unwinding the dawn.
The platforms are hurtling peasants,
hiding from uniforms, hoarding potatoes,
shrouded in a hail of storks scattering
a past imperfect continuous present.
A talisman gold bracelet encircles an ankle,
soldiers cold hands can’t now unlace fate:
in this snowdrop your daughter’s limbs forming.
You’ll settle in Totma, Petersburg, Vienna, again.

Valerie Bridge

in collection A Somersault of Doves, 2013, George MannPublications,
ISBN 978-1-9076401-2-4