The streets were filled with frozen random words
snatched to ice the moment they left warm mouths
before they could reach ears or mobile phones.
I picked some up and put them in my bag.
One thawed on the bus, a man shouting ‘Tench!’
Another was a whisper that skittered
over the pavement in front of my house.
It was a woman. I think she said ‘Ralph!’
in a tone suggesting he was long gone.
The last I left on the kitchen table
sloughing off breaths that heaved themselves to sound.
Then there was a crack and the word was born
quite slowly like a moth emerging soft
into the world, new, waiting for meaning.
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