. . . . . . . .A Hot Steam’s somebody who can’t get to heaven, just wallows around on lonesome roads…
. . . . . . . .Jem, To Kill a Mockingbird
Every avenue a snowy dead end
we pause midway to note the damage
in felled trees and wires. Windows glitter
with frost so thick, no one sees
in or out, and the mountains at the corners
where two streets meet
halt all traffic. There’s little to say on your return
yet we don’t mourn the steamy days of summer, where
goldfinches twirled the humid air,
dove through the hydrangeas for shade. Heat
kept us distracted in its foggy mornings,
when sweat was a length of silk thread
down your chest, calling to be spun.
Our laughter’s risen and fled, blurred the sky
to a beautiful oblivion, and we watch juncos,
puffed twice their size,
huddle on the fallen branches. We are past
complaining about a distance
we can’t change, and the wind carries
all our frozen words to the river, where they cling
to cattails stiff in ice.
It’s impossible to go further, so we stand
blind with snow, sun and silver,
our warm breath ghosting behind us.
by Marybeth Rua-Larsen, first published in Poetry and Art: an exhibition of contemporary poetry and responsive art
Editor’s Note: This poem’s imagery combines the memory of summer with the glittering abandon of winter’s icy landscape. The best part is that it isn’t just a collection of pretty scenes—rather, the poem gives us an emotional framework where even our breath is part of the beauty.
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