In my childhood
It was always winter
Afternoons of grass and kindling
For fire’s warmth in evenings
Shadow and the crack of laurel
In the heat.
My father cut great swathes
And each year on my birthday
We’d flatten an unmown path
And pile it high to pop and spit
Like fighting cats
In the heat once it was lit.
Every stick became a
Fire’s friend – we’d watch for blue caves in the depths of them
Learnt to turn the logs just so
Hot side out.
Every morning the frost
Fitted onto everything – leaves
And cars and slithered onto roads
The dog’s breath came out like dragons
Our own caught to light
And made rainbows.
Each day we’d mitten and sheepskin
Knitted into buttons of coats and necessary scarves
But still those cold cold feet at school
And fingers that didn’t bother us ’til
They turned blue at the tips
And made us scream.
Rain and more rain, the creek’s flooded pleasure and booted we’d send
A load of fledgling boats to meet their doom to the white water.
Then hot water bottle dreaming
In flannel sheets.
It was like this all the time.