Tag Archives: nature

Susan Richardson’s ‘Waiting at the Breathing Hole’

Waiting at the Breathing Hole
Susan Richardson
 
The white of this screen burns
my eyes. Its unswerving glare
might well make me snow-blind. 
  
There was a time when words would fly
across the screen, like a dog-team speeding,
each at its peak and pulling
equally and all I’d have to do was leap
aboard the sledge, guide it
in the right direction, then
relish the ride.

But suddenly,
                    we hit uneven ice.
          Bumped over ridges.
I fell from the sledge.          The dogs fled.
The instructions I yelled
                    had no meaning.
 
So now, with tender eyes,
I must hunt for a hole in the white
 
and wait
 
patient
 
at the rim
for the whiskered nose of inspiration,
for a flippered urge to surge to the surface.
 
And when it comes, I won’t shoot it,
harpoon it     skin it     rip its liver out and eat it raw
leave banners of blood on the snow.
 
No. I’ll feed it all the saffron cod and shrimp it needs,
teach it to move with the ease it knows beneath
the ice
 
but first, I’ll take a few steps back
and just let it
 
breathe
 
 
First published in Creatures of the Intertidal Zone
(Cinnamon Press, 2007).
 
Visit Susan’s website and blog.