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Watermelon Snow by Nina Hanz

After Wayne Binitie

in Alabama we all had the same favourite record

that played from the cupboard as we watched stars fall

‘cause it couldn’t be snow even in winter. even in gulf’s paradise

where the frost was Spanish moss and the hog suckers found

their algae bellies in the pond far from their cousins of colourless blood.

like us they too kissed the rocks home

and until the mouth of a whale becomes home

they will drift through ocean tides as I search for any record

of our breath in the ice. snow enters the oceans in blood

streams for red algae to congeal the sea, its anaemia falling

for the north-western passage—blushing to be found

by search ships headed for paradise

or science, discovery having its own dislodged place in paradise.

in that slush-water-rain, scientists brought home

alga of nickel and iron frozen in their findings,

but the very first was Aristotle. written in script was a record

of a crimson snow more seaweed flesh than water. on fells,

the fells, those ancient mountains too bled

some two thousand years ago. Earth could oxidise its blood

to evaporate again from solid, again from past there: in old paradise

where we could never have dreamed that arctic fronds could fall

through water to coast and survive the heat of a new home

a new time, in ever-summer like us, by us, to the record

spinning in vertical currents and trying to forget that we found

out artic sea ice was getting younger. that we found

out our wounds could melt the ice and in our own time blood

could cover the river delta with the mineral red record

of watermelon snow. pink, it fooled paradise

with its hot-toned allusion, its pools of home

pulling. as barometric pressures fall

soon come blizzards, or thunders, cold fronts in fall

and winter, even to our old Alabama. that night, we found

our ways back to that song again that sounds of home.

we looked out to the opaque soon deepened in blood

and watched what could have been snow in our paradise—

wishing that this moment too be etched in Earth’s record.

Note: Wayne Binitie is exhibiting in Glasgow throughout the UN climate summit COP26 - more info -


Nina Hanz is a German-American writer based in Berlin. In 2020, she graduated from the Royal College of Art’s MA Writing programme. where she cultivated her practice around time and place, geology and ecology. Both her prose and poetry deal with unexpected iterations of the ground.


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