Teaching English at Friendship House

By 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.


(from The Zig Zag Woman, Two Ravens Press)