Maggie Sawkins


Although he came from the mountains
(this much I learnt)


he didn’t understand
my words for snow.


I fluttered my fingers
in front of him


but he only saw
the wings of birds.


I led him to the window
wrapped myself in my arms


at the shivering sky
but he only stared.


It was slow and involved
the elimination


of sun, wind and rain
but we got there.


Sometimes I think of him
back at the border


I imagine his mountains
their fingers of shadow


the stutter of gunfire
the quietness of snow.

Maggie Sawkins
“Elimination” first appeared in the anthology Mouth Ogres: A Tongues and Strings Presentation, ed. Hugh Dunkerley and Dave Swann (Krebs and Snopes, UK, 2001).