If I could find
if I could rest     here     or here     if I look
if I could find the far edges     of quiet     of cold     of ice
if I could see     nothing but blue-white     sea-ice
if I had not lost the sea     the deep fathoms     floes
if I could walk on ice     smell the sea
if I had not turned away     set out     searching
if I had strength
if my feet were not sore from hard black-top
if hunger were not driving me
if the pangs of hunger did not clench my belly
if I could feel if I could not feel
if I should not fail     fall     fear
if snow              would come
if I could find     seashore     sealife     if I could swim
             feel the floe     taste     the salt of sea
if I could hear the language of sea     groaning of ice
if I could turn away from this cold harsh       place
            this      roar of traffic     sirens of factories
if I could shake this noise out of my head
            stench    from my nostrils
            stench       of fire             of oil       of smoke       of         of
if I could breathe     sea winds         not this         wasteland
if I could turn from this     go           turn away
if I could turn back      go back             go back

Sue Riley is a retired teacher, has a keen interest in the environment, her garden and reading and writing poetry. Her work has been published in the North, Stand, Brittle Star, Interpreters House and Strix.