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Helen Mort

THE WORD FOR SNOW

THE WORD FOR SNOW

THE WORD FOR SNOW

The Inuit have twenty-two words
for snow, I told him, but he didn’t want to hear,
didn’t raise his head from the bowl of dough,
thumbs kneading flour in a frenzy.
The lawn was freezing over, but the air stayed
empty and I wondered how the Inuit
would name this waiting –
the radio playing to itself in the bathroom,
the sound from the street of
ice-cream vans out of season
in this town where we don’t have

twenty-two words for anything,
where I learned the name
for round hills built on plastic
and bothered by seagulls, the bridge
where a man was killed in the strike
and where they want to put street lamps
to keep away the kids.
From the window, I watch
the sky as it starts to fill. In the kitchen,
dad sifts flour, over and over
as if still panning for something.
Helen Mort

Helen Mort

(Verenigd Koninkrijk, 1985)

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THE WORD FOR SNOW

The Inuit have twenty-two words
for snow, I told him, but he didn’t want to hear,
didn’t raise his head from the bowl of dough,
thumbs kneading flour in a frenzy.
The lawn was freezing over, but the air stayed
empty and I wondered how the Inuit
would name this waiting –
the radio playing to itself in the bathroom,
the sound from the street of
ice-cream vans out of season
in this town where we don’t have

twenty-two words for anything,
where I learned the name
for round hills built on plastic
and bothered by seagulls, the bridge
where a man was killed in the strike
and where they want to put street lamps
to keep away the kids.
From the window, I watch
the sky as it starts to fill. In the kitchen,
dad sifts flour, over and over
as if still panning for something.

THE WORD FOR SNOW

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Gemeente Rotterdam
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