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for the Alaskan Wood Frog by Victoria Gatehouse

because you showed me how cold

can be welcomed into the body like a lover

because your bed is a deep-winter rustle

of leaf litter because you whispered

slow like the language of the frozen

because you’ve thinned yourself

to glass heart quivering on pause

because your brain is a Slush Puppie

your legs brittle enough to snap

because you will not snap

because your veins are steeped

in antifreeze because you suspend

hope as ice-crystals between the walls

of blood cells because you never stop

believing in beetles & birdsong the fat

glisten of peat-bog slugs because one day

you’ll piss out rivers of glucose &

the forest will spring open as you belt out

the old songs in a pond that throbs

with stars because it’s the only way to live


Victoria Gatehouse is a Zoologist and researcher based in West Yorkshire. Her poems have

been widely published in magazines and anthologies and broadcast on BBC Radio. Her

second pamphlet, The Mechanics of Love, published by smith|doorstop, was selected as a

‘Laureate’s Choice’ by Carol Ann Duffy.


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