I Practice a Conversation
Say I tell you this green time is not white enough for me
this too-warm time not cold in the way I remember.
I was a little girl when the flakes of snow threw themselves
against the windows at the time when I struggled to recall
the words of a carol being sung to me for the first time.
Say I tell you this green time is like a charade of winter
and the birds hang on the trees when they should be gone.
I was a young man, caught in the first thrill of love
holding open the door of a rusty old van to catch passing
snowflakes. I felt the cold and the cold knew my song.
Say I tell you this green time is a reminder of a spring
we have lost now. Tell me you can’t see the white in my eyes.
I was a mother who made Christmas decorations that caught
the light from whatever light surrounded them. My arms
were the magic that took cold and made it the joy of a speeding sleigh.
Say I tell you this green time is a forgetting of something
a pretence that death is not a necessary jolt, a passing place.
I was a man living in the dark of a doorway. The cold was a cold
that everyone else was protected from. There was talk of global
warming, a change in the seasons. They talked of good will for everyone.
Say I tell you this green time is not white enough
this too-warm time not warm in the way I remember.
Hannah Linden has been published in several magazines and anthologies including most recently The Interpreter’s House and Domestic Cherry, and was commended in the 2015 Prole Laureate; and with Gram Joel Davies, won the 2015 Cheltenham Poetry Festival’s Compound Competition.