They are wintering over. In the mornings
I’m an eavesdropper to their aubade,
low, woeful murmurings
gurgling into my inner ear.
Dawn greys the windowsill
where a pair alights above
the snow-shadowed park.
At fourteen, I’m dreamy-eyed
and full of faith that the lessons
in the ways a marriage of true minds
would shake impediments
will come to me like peals
on the wind, as supernaturally
as Jane’s small cry was carried
to the one who despaired
of hearing it. Outside, there’s little
to forage. The fountains are frozen.
The day waits. I tumble downstairs,
eager to discover what came after
that long locked wait in darkness,
after the feats of courtship, after the nerves
which thrilled with grief and indifference
now quiet and hum. What comes after,
reader, when one soul must take its leave
of the other, to find food or shelter,
from the most demanding season?
For I had yet to learn what those
creatures endured, that one stays behind,
one always does. To see through the winter
that will end, and the winter that will not.
Published online April 01 2013.
Phoebe Wang has completed an MA in English and Creative Writing at the University of Toronto. Her work has appeared in Arc Poetry Magazine, Canadian Literature and Descant. She placed second in the 2011 Short Grain with Variations contest and was longlisted for the CBC Poetry Prize in 2012.