Have you taken a grapefruit from the fridge,
sliced it open, segmented it with the serrated knife,
sprinkled sugar on, while stood at the kitchen window
startled by the first winter snowfall?
Staring into the chilled and crowded air
the tang of the grapefruit smacks
its truth onto your tongue and throat
as it slips down, slice by slice.
Last night the bald trees were brown,
the grass in patches, the bushes clipped back.
The glamour of snow has bewitched the silent birds
and the boy that runs from the back door
in gum boots, hat askew, jacket unbuttoned,
and mother yelling him back, who stops only
to open wide his eyes and mouth, arms
and fingers, to the crystal flakes.
He feels he's happened on a fairy tale's
deliverance from darkest sleep;
while we, grown older, see the world's shift
as news, like any other unexpected event
that makes the news. We think of slippery paths,
frozen cars, cold knees and necks
and the inconvenience of ice; we shiver
and switch the coffee machine on.
But did something touch us
slithering like a soft feather falling into
the spaces between words? And were those words
like bells chiming in the crystal air?
Then let each day be like a snowy morning,
even your last on earth, as your spoon delves
again into the grapefruit, its juices
dissolving the sprinkled sugar snow to slush.
This poem is part of the "Natural Causes" collection of poems with illustrations by Geoff MacEwan.
For more information, go to Poems and Etchings - Natural Causes.