“Separation”: a poem by Claire Crowther

Snails might shout
crawling from mint to balm “I burn”
or call from lovage and hosta

“I’m burning dry”
while my husband is falling asleep
in the sun away by Muker Beck,

where oyster catchers
freeze on their nests and only water stays
awake, irritably controlled, pushing stones,

stuck, stuck, stuck, stuck, till we both are
woken by pain with its orange beak.

This article first appeared in the 16 September 2013 issue of the New Statesman, Syria: The deadly stalemate