Twenty Two Words for Snow

by Helen Mort

Twenty Two Words for Snow

The lawn was freezing over

but the air stayed empty,

and I wondered how the Inuit

would name this waiting –

our radio playing to itself in the bathroom,

the sound from the street

of ice-cream vans out of season

in this town where we don’t have


twenty-two words for anything,

where I learned the name

for artificial hills, the bridge

where a man was felled by bricks

in the strike. From the window,

I watch the sky as it starts to fill.

In the kitchen, dad sifts flour,

still panning for something.