Wild Court

An international poetry journal based in the English Department of King’s College London

‘Murky Waters’: a poem by Stephen Grace

Image by Broadreach from Pixabay

    Murky Waters

On a field by a lake in Manitoba
a woman presses her hand
to the wind. She is learning to read
a rivermap etched into the bark
of an old birch tree

while her husband raises a farmhouse
and two barns from his handful
of meagre acres. He has sunk their last nickel
into row upon improvident
row of cut timber

so that come winter
there will be nothing left for the hens
and chickens, the cattle, or the small
brood of squabbling children
playing in the snow. Once spring’s

meltwaters have swelled the Red
and the Assiniboine
he will run back over the ocean
to England and her sunnier climes,
leaving behind

a few split logs, some scattered feed
and a woman standing in a field
by a lake, her hand
raised to the wind
somewhere in Manitoba.