The Three-Day Melt

After waiting the week
for a damaged gutter’s steady drip,
it starts to beat an old tattoo.
And we are amongst the few,
digging out our neighbourly slush,
metal offered to the melting ridge,
and thinking ourselves heroic.

Glossed by sun-tormented snow,
the street achieves a sheen,
like a hotel foyer magazine,
before it hardens, greys,
maculate as newsprint.
Here are the furrows we made,
footfalls disappearing.

Already we are forgetting
the claustrophobic days,
beating around the bush
to clear negotiable ways
back to the ordinary rush.

Out of suspension now,
the accelerating hours
push on; clouds clear;
and we can no longer mark time –
grateful, at least, for not
having to watch every step.

Tom Phillips
'The Three-Day Melt' appears in Recreation Ground (Two Rivers Press, 2012):