Poem of the Week

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What Song is Singing in the Silence of the Snow by Sean Thomas Dougherty

My Russian neighbors slumber, they lisp and sigh, they snore. They turn over towards what door. Open or closed, in the cathedral that is coughing, in the mine where they dig the ore that shines. That burns like coal, that heats the house of hems, the skirts that bloom in paisley, red, green, and blue as Ukrainian domes, as tattoos faded on the backs of ex-prisoners, sleeping before they wake for the early shift, and the sound of their cars sparking up in the dark, and the snow falling all around in hush. What music is left, this Prokovfiev too much to bear, this Shastokovitch that we share, piano keys that stutter charts, that mutter fields of dark earth, sunflowers, the digging and the ditch, the shovel and the spade, the cut above the shoulder blade, the ladder of a stitch, that leaves a scar, that when touched opens, opens a map of the body’s archipelago, the islands of moles that stretch across the Northern sea of your back, and the snow ghosting against our bedroom window, choreographing its thousand falling stars.

‘What Song is Singing in the Silence of the Snow’ is taken from Sasha Sings the Laundry on the Line by Sean Thomas Dougherty. Copyright © BOA Editions, Ltd., 2010. The poem is reprinted by permission of BOA Editions.

Find out more at the Oxford Brookes Poetry Centre.

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