the most intimate season;
short-lived, dissolving
as ever into dust.
The crest of a wave still rides
the perpetual earth of our honeymoon,
though the inner life
of the stone erodes, suddenly not so sharp,
tough like a dried-up heart.
The memory loiters
like a dangerous desire,
but these days I no
longer feel the fire.
Always, it is cold.

My senses corrode; there is no feeling
in this lifeless, but necessary,
abode. Unsung poetry
deprived of voice
clings like tattoos to the walls,
the phantoms of once-loved
pets curl up in the corners
of the attic,
the weather's moods
beat sound into the roof
like some unholy cry.
The pipes are dry,
the floors are cracked,
and still we search for meaning
inside the dirt,
as though our past hurt
might still be there,
waiting to be revived.
There is rhythm in the stairs,
meaning in the breathing of the wind,
enigmas in the puddles
in which we once found oceans.

The kitchen laments
the pungent scents
of burned-out romantic dinners,
cut short by the fights
that seemed to make the nights
our eternal purgatory.
its unnatural lights, useless gifts
and children running with their shadows.
When I close my eyes,
I hear the hollow repetition
of their excited cries,
the false sound of twinkling bells;
a year never felt so much like hell
as a year lived out of love,
with solitude
the substitute
for peace.
There seems no such thing
in a world so accustomed to grief.

I turn on the tap, fill my cup
with air. I draw your face
in dried-up paint on the bedroom wall,
imagine your bedtime story as I fall
into sleep.

I wake with hope to find that place, within,
rediscover your face and escape my skin.
The house rumbles with mock laughter,
shakes away the weight of the snow.
This cold is all we know.

Shaunna Harper's picture

Shaunna Harper lives and works in the UK, and is an avid writer of both prose and poetry. She has had poetry, short stories and a novel, Homelands, published.

Last updated February 11, 2014