Northwords Now Issue 37

The FREE literary magazine of the North

13th November; Air 3.5°, Water 6.3°

by Beth McDonough

In grey’s unmoving bruise a horizon sears,
to breakfast on flames.
                               Water registers two degrees dropped
in as many days.
                               Thermometers lie in frost-whip air.

Angler-style, I cast again
underfoot the sensor’s wire.
                                Still. Those digits fall.


Swim now. Before more numbers shrivel.

Surprised, I skin how little all this costs,
fish quickly in, head deep with ease. But
skin begins to glitter soon,
whites in ground glass cuts.
Every surface sores.


Hands and feet turn only bone.
Limbs thicken up, weigh a thousand pounds
to clunk reluctant at adverse currents.
                                  Snell. Snell.

Somewhere uphill, whitemelt gives.
Every tributary's’ weekend slices in,
scalpels open this firth's waters.

Still thumbing finger to finger, I sole
ice sand’s bedded nails, fierce
back up the long beach
into winds which now sleet snow