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Re: The Storm (Bear) by Mary Oliver - A winter love letter.

by Phoebe Robertson (she/her)

contributing writer

Now through the white orchard my little dog

romps, breaking the new snow

with wild feet.

In the winter, we lie in bed and fight each other over who will be the one to get up. To brave the wilderness of a student flat (even though I am no longer a student), tiptoe over wooden floors and arrive at the kitchen. Put warm hands on cool metal and fill the kettle with tepid, or frozen, water. If we are lucky, there will be no condensation on the window as we crack it open. If we are unlucky, our feet will stick to the floor. It has been grey all morning, and we have slept well into the afternoon.

Running here, running there, excited,

hardly able to stop, he leaps, he spins,

until the white snow is written upon

in large, exuberant letters.

When the kettle has boiled, it grows loud enough to writhe the wet droplets on the windowsill. I pour the steam into two cups, add tea bags, give it a stir, and add too much milk - but you’ve never commented on how inept I am. Outside, the rain is hitting the roof and I can hear the wind forcing itself through branches. The cups warm my hands as I tiptoe back to our room. There is no need to be silent, the flatmates aren’t home, but I am afraid you’ve fallen back asleep.

A long sentence, expressing

the pleasures of the body in this world.

It’s you— in bed. Slipping my body softly under blankets, you shy away from my frozen skin. It’s not that easy. Seizing you, I push my body tightly against yours. Our mugs steam upward and trail in whisps toward the ceiling. Your body is so warm and cozy under the blankets and i cannot get close enough. I want to live in your pocket and have you carry me with you for the rest of my days. I want to drink tea and watch TV, to pretend that the rain is not pouring down on our laundry and that this flat is not growing mould. You look toward me; “I love you,” you say.

Oh, I could not have said it better myself.

(Mary Oliver, 2013)


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