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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & Owner
Ray Rasmussen, General Editor

Volume 12, Number 3, September 2018
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Amanda Bell
Dublin, Ireland


Wintering

The next day, we head west into a low sun. The garage where we habitually stop for 99s has unplugged its ice-cream machine for the season. They’ll get it going again on St Patrick’s Day, but that seems a long way off now. On arrival, we reset our bearings, light the stove, eat supper by the fire. We doze off there in its glow, awaken stiff and chilled, and stagger upstairs, where we sleep the fitful sleep of the depleted.

The sun rises later here. When it appears over the cnocán, we don boots, walk the land, mark out trees for cutting. This batch will yield a few more years of burning. On the hill, a handful of sloes still cling to the blackthorn. We snap off dead twigs for kindling, harvest red and yellow willow. Among leaf drifts we find badger trails, see where thrushes forage, remember rivers of bluebells, and prepare for spring. I take a hand-tool and kneel to clear some space beneath the hazels, feel the cold seep through my jeans into my bones.

my friend is dead—
how can I plant crocus bulbs
in this shallow soil?


Notes:

99s: An ice cream cone with a chocolate log in it.

Cnocán: Irish word for a little hill.

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