April, Northern England

Snowflakes surprise us,
small and aimless as we ourselves,
so light they sift upwards
in random puppetry.
Yesterday we arrived in England
on the edge of April.
Workers in orange suits
had de-iced the plane in Chicago.
As we’d changed planes
in Dublin, yellow hoses uncoiled
on juddering machines
to do likewise.
An hour later we land in Manchester.
The Derbyshire hills are cloaked in wool
white as the new lambs
perishing in the meadows.
Farmers dig them out, weeping.
A carnival springs up in Daisy Nook,
ready for holiday children
who won’t be Ferris-wheeling
in the icy wind, or clinging
to the carousel horses with frozen fingers,
if their mothers have anything to say.
The Snake Pass is closed.
A magpie lights in a chestnut tree,
and along the road, through patches
of snow, purple crocuses
burst like broken hearts.
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