top of page

The cows on the ice by Carl Alexandersson




The cows on the ice



on clear winter days we'd ice skate on Sjöatorpssjön


our breaths were condensed precise fast-paced


as we'd circle the patch of ice we were told was safe

safety is a decision others make


*



on this frozen-over lake decades ago


dad's childhood friend poured hot cocoa into his ice skates


to warm his feet which worked briefly before backfiring

nothing is as cold as heat fading



*


once, I fell through slipped from the pier


and had to get draped in a tablecloth the colour of snödroppar

in Swedish we have this saying


det är ingen ko på isen there is no cow on the ice


it means no danger everything's fine



*


once I poured hot cocoa onto the ice


thinking it'd melt but it just stained



*


dad always told me if I ever go further out on the ice


I'd need to bring ice picks in case I fell in

on Sjöatorpssjön I learned how to listen


for cracks under skates for spring to break for danger



*


last summer, in the dark dad and I heard our neighbours shout


there were cows in the lake having escaped their farm


for the cooling bliss of a summer night swim


we stood and listened as they brought them ashore


like we'd listen for the ice to crack



*


I'd like to not stain this ice this lake


this life if I can


*



in the end the cows on the ice were saved

safety is a decision others make.







Carl Alexandersson (he/him) is a queer spoken word poet based in Glasgow, hailing from Småland, Sweden. He was selected for the BBC Words First programme in 2021, Highly Commended for the Edwin Morgan Poetry Award 2022, and a runner-up for the Grierson Verse Prize 2022. His work has been published in Atrium Poetry, Ink Sweat & Tears, Impossible Archetype, and more. His debut poetry pamphlet 'Förgätmigej // Forget-me-not' was published by Stewed Rhubarb Press in July 2023.

1 commento


m.anne.alexander
08 nov 2023

Extraordinarily atmospheric... Pauses/breaths intrinsic to effects.

Mi piace
bottom of page