LITTLE GIRLS LYING IN THE SNOW AND ICY AIR
In that hour of the afternoon,
Quiet and bare, the leaves having long since fallen,
The woods set firm, thick and heavy,
Sending shape and shadow creeping towards us,
My friend lay in the bunk next to mine
And I watched her.
Watched the bunk slowly topple over,
Saw her black hair suddenly veiled with blossom,
A slow and icy blossom of snow,
Touching her closed eyes, restless and flickering
Under their thin brown skin covering.
I could not breathe for fear but fell beside her,
Lying there, watching her, anxiously whispering.
I could not move until they picked her up,
Gathering her to them like a fallen flower,
A crumpled petal. Carrying her away.
Now the wicked woods shook with laughter,
Bare branches creaking with loss,
And loneliness, that greedy companion.
Snow falling quietly on all the little girls
Lying in the snow and icy air.
© Gwen Grant