after Cheryle St Onge’s series of photographs.
Carole stands on the back step. Already the sun is slanting
in the sky as she watches the figure on the snow photograph
the long blue pencil shadows of the aspens. She likes the sound
of the phone camera – the chuk-chiks crystal clear in the frozen air.
The shape spins around, rearranges itself into her daughter.
Mom! You’ve got that old 60s fur coat on, the one you found
at the flea market, remember? Wow, lookin’ good!
Carole smiles, holds thumbs up, blinks her eyes in the dazzle
of mid-afternoon. She moves, unsteady
across the sloping field, now shawled in white.
In a flat soft space by the woods, she kneels slowly
into cat position, rocks sideways, falls, rolls onto her back, laughs.
Flakes settle on her glasses, nose, mouth. Her arms,
straight out from her body, begin to propel up and down
as if she is an engine, newly fired. They shift snow, leave arcs,
the shush and the whoosh of it. Her daughter
chuk-chiks from different angles as she comes towards her.
Carole closes her eyes against the sun. Her arms beat
faster and faster, to lift her into the treetops.
I’ve got snow wings, snow wings, snowing.
*Using her phone, Cheryl St Onge took a series of portraits of her mother after she developed dementia.