A Bell of Frost

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Contributor: Susie Gharib

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I trudged my way with an overload of borrowed books,
my rented room, uphill, in a four-floor block,
where a frosted bed lay lusting for my blood.

St. Mungo’s Church, my first stop home,
I had to go in to anoint my dome,
my eyes, too weary,
my tongue, snow-stung.
I lit a candle and knelt to tell
the Blessed Mary how lonely I felt,
a legion of tears preparing to rebel.

My second stop was the Unwinking Shop.
What should I have for a grumbling stomach?
What series of flashlights hijacked my thoughts?
He emerged from his car like a conjured ghost.
My name rang out, a bell of frost.
I hastened to greet the homebound Ross.

We sat in the sepulcher of a breath-warmed car,
watching the skies trim out their hair,
wreathing our love with unspoken words.
When the time had come to bid goodnight,
I took my leave very loath to part,
a blizzard preceding me into the apartment.

The way to the kitchen lay through her hearth.
I had to ferry my hair, my lungs
across the Styx of cigarettes' smog.
A pint of milk with frosted flakes
was a meal not weaved with smoke-spun snakes,
so confronting bed I said my graces.
I dreamt that I had a house in a lake,
a boat was moored to a daffodil-gate,
and a troop of swans patrolled the estate.

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Susie Gharib is a graduate of the University of Strathclyde with a Ph.D. on the work of D.H. Lawrence. Her poetry and fiction have appeared in multiple venues.


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