Christmas Visit

Cold air scratching my lungs
bare branches clawing the
red cloud sky.
To fall here so far
from anyone
I would be dead before
the low sun had buried
itself beneath the scrub
trees of the distant hedgerow.

Drifts shelter tilting stones
holding them against the wind
time freezing in this white
distance and time above me
like the sun-dogs that breathe in
the steam of my breath.

When I can no longer look
into the whiteness
aware of the stiffness
the creeping death
in my joints
I fight my way back past
the church
gunshot steps through
the crusted drifts.

~ Blaine Newton

Blaine Newton is an Alberta playwright with productions across Western Canada and a total audience of well under a million people. His short fiction and poetry have been featured on CBC Radio and in the Edmonton Journal, and published in anthologies of Alberta writers. A founding member of the ACME Theatre Company (“Fine Theatre Since Tuesday”), writing and performing sketch comedy, he also contributed a regular humour column to Winnipeg’s Interchange Magazine. Blaine works in Red Deer as an engineer as part of the writer-in-exile program.

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