Sledge

In the warmest December of their long history
he gave her a sledge
as red as Christmas itself
it waited in the hallway
along with the snowballing gloves
and the sleet defying hat
for the snow that never came.
It shone through a January of drizzle
through February’s fog
until the snowdrops pushed out their plucky heads
until the daffodils frilled out into Spring.
In March she felt its expectancy in her arms
as she carried it to the shed
tucked it in, between last years grow-bags
and the summer loungers.
She wondered what he’d been thinking –
a sledge, for snow that was never predicted
Like that late snow of April
some thirty years before
How the congregation had shivered
in the cold hearted parish church
How he had struggled with the ring
her finger as swollen as her belly
How he’d mouthed ‘I love you’
while the guests tutted that the marriage
would never last.

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