Lovers and Snowmen
from Selkie Singing at the Passing Place
© Melanie Rees, 2015

There are some things you can steal without consequence:
sachets of Demerara sugar from bookshops and cafés,
blue pens from the Bookmaker's bench,
but lovers and snowmen
belong to the girl who woke with his dawn,
belong to the woman who caught the first flake.

I've stolen both lovers and snowmen
then sworn to be good,
given them back.
Sometimes as good as new.
Sometimes not always intact.

The snowman I wanted for love,
a midnight orphan on next-door's lawn,
so I carried him flake by flake,
gave him a home in my backyard

but his duffel-bone button eyes were stone
as he shuffled like a hostage on my untouched snow,
like the lover who sleeps on a freshly made bed
and leaves not a wrinkle or a footprint on the sheets
to show he's ever stepped there.

So I gave the snowman back,
let him keep my new red hat from Debenhams
as reparation for his pain.

But the lover I stole,
I didn't know he belonged to another;
his pebble mouth
did not tell me someone else had made him

and though he was harder to hold
than the snowman,
I cried a blizzard of ice and flakes
when I had to give him back.

There are some things you can steal without consequence
and though I etch in blue pen on coffee tables in cafés,
write in Demerara sugar on the Bookmaker's bench
that I will never, ever steal lovers or snowmen again,
I know
I will feel differently
with that first kiss of snow.