I write Christmas cards whilst listening to a report on Swiss guinea pigs
The guy on the radio says that it is illegal in
Switzerland to keep one guinea pig on its own.
The Swiss say it’s cruel. I’m writing Christmas cards -
all with the same image– a lone fox curled up in the snow.
The back of the card reads ‘our village fox’,
but she doesn’t appear to belong to anyone.
There are more names this year – partners, children.
My name stays singular. I consider adding my dog
or padding with one more kiss than the average three.
It has started to snow outside. I watch a pair of wood pigeons
bully the birds on the feeder until only one sparrow remains.
My plumed name burrows into the whiteness, keeps to itself.
I seal the cards, send them off into the world like solo travellers.
Jeanette Burton is a part-time English Language and Literature teacher. ‘Uptown’ was her first published poem in the anthology In Transit: Poems of Travel (The Emma Press, 2018). She has an MA in Creative Writing from Nottingham Trent University.
Carol Ann Duffy says: Jeanette Burton’s ‘I write Christmas cards whilst listening to a report on Swiss guinea pigs’ would make a good Christmas card itself. I like the way it explores loneliness without losing its witty tone. My daughter has gone to university and my dog died recently, so I relate to the emotions conveyed here.