In winter our boots leave footprints in the snow & we tramp through the bramble, marching & lifting our knees high. We amble single file through the bushes & the branches leave my hands speckled with blood the color of summer raspberries. The naked snow stretches a blanket across the grass, further than we can see. We follow the fence towards home, gloveless hands deep in pockets. The shrill cries are from a blackbird imprisoned in the wire fence. Its beak is open & crimson droplets tarnish the crisp snow. My brothers hands are tight around the bird, sharp wire digging into his flesh, pink from the cold. The black of its feathers contrast brilliantly with the snow. My brother walks towards home. There is no wind today, and the birds pain radiates. When he is still I scoop him into my hands & place him into my pocket with care. I chase the red of my brothers coat through the snow, the blackbird pressed against my side. It slept in my cupboard for three days, nestled in last years Christmas tinsel.