Outside the Co-op, the Big Issue seller shrinks from the cold’s battery; hood pulled up, coat hugged tight. I give her hot chocolate, explain there is no second cup: Café Nero doesn’t know about Pay Forward. We split a bunch of bananas; half go into her bag for her kids. She thanks me in fractured English. Back home, I’m twice-warming in the garage (first you chop it, then you burn it). Fox comes down the path, sure-footed on the rime. I freeze, saw angled in the block of wood. The gap closes. I make myself small. Sawdust motes float in the air. Fox tests the lawn for pickings. The frost is one massive ‘keep off’ notice; worms and beetles on lockdown beneath the white crust. Fox looks at me, his eyes an arms-length from mine. Belongs to no-one but the mate whose coital shrieks have startled the darkness for weeks. I think: I will put out some cat food for them. It’s well meant, but one of us cannot speak, and the other cannot hear what’s being said.



Hannah Stone


This entry was posted on in homepage and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.