In preparing for the winter storm by Richard L. Westheimer

In preparing for the winter storm

we had the good sense to charge our phones but we
failed to pop the wipers on the cars, failed
to move the cars from under the maple, to move
a load of firewood from the shed to the house—a
blundering we’d regret long after the power went down, us blundering
round the house trying to find the flashlights we’d left around

in here, somewhere. After the lights went out, we settled in
like we’ve done before, snuggled under the covers (glad we like
each other!) and made plans for the morning. We each
took on tasks, I brought in wood, Deb built the fire, I took
a shovel to the drive and she got the skis prepared for a
day of exploring. All the roads were closed, would be for days,

so we were on our own. Once out on the ski trails, we saw so
many trees down, the oaks suffering most, many
with their clinging leaves sheathed and weighed to the breaking point with
coats of ice. After a mile, we heated up, shed our coats,
were quiet long enough to hear nothing but a solitary sparrow. We were
stunned at how much we’d won in that moment, so still, so stunning.

by Richard L. Westheimer

Editor’s Note: The repetition in this poem is used to emphasize the narrative, making sure that the reader pays attention to the most important pieces: failed, blundering, stunning. This layering of images makes the ending all the more lovely.

Poet’s Note: This is a “Lennon Lyric” poem named for poet Lester Graves Lennon. It is an 18 line poem with three 6 line stanzas. The first and last word of each line are the same (different words for different lines). The last lines stanzas have words that are close but not the same.