It was the coldest place I’d ever been;
minus thirty as we slid down Garden Street;
the Charles River, frozen marble-grey,
so hard it might be safe to skate;
all the summer rowing eights, abandoned.
In the coffee shop near Harvard Yard
we unpacked ourselves from coats and scarves.
I stirred a latte with a long-handled spoon
while you asked me why you had to be alone,
your voice, like trodden ice, fractured.
Back on the freeway, I-95 North,
you took an unexpected exit near Newburyport
to a wooden jetty over the Merrimack,
where in past summers you had soaked sumac
fruits in pails of sugared water, sweetened.
Judi Sutherland gained a PhD in Biochemistry before embarking on a career in pharma / biotech and only started writing poems in 2008. After redundancy in 2011, she obtained an MA in Creative Writing from Royal Holloway, University of London, and is now writing a novel, as well as poetry, blogs and reviews. Her poems have been published in Acumen, The Interpreter’s House, Oxford Poetry and New Statesman, among others. In 2012 she won the Margaret Hewson Prize and was shortlisted for the Troubadour International Poetry Competition and the Lightship Literary Awards. She lives in a converted chapel in South Oxfordshire. Her writing blog is at www.judisutherland.com and her Huffington Post articles are at http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/judi-sutherland/