J. C. Vickery


I had forgotten that Winter is my power animal.

I pretend that it is because of my Viking blood,

but really, it’s just that I’m at my best in the dark.


After I dropped her off at school, I went for a walk.

It was snowing, and I was smoking the last of my hoarded cigarettes.

Coated in smoke and snow, contrary & energized.


When I was half the age I am now, I walked everywhere,

in the snow especially. Smoking, especially.

Dangerous in the way that it is always dangerous to be

a girl

alone & pubescent.


I never had mittens or a hat then, just pockets and inappropriate shoes.

Inappropriate boys, too.

I remember a certain path in the woods, behind a school, or library.


Cold hands, warm heart

Cold hands, warm.

Warmth that had never felt a hand.


I did fall through the ice, once.

Up to my waist, before I caught.

I was never scared, either, just obscurely proud.


Now this, THIS, is danger.


A minivan comes up behind me, my friend wondering if I need a ride.

Just walking. Just for myself.

She’s bewildered, but smiles anyway.


Distracted, I realize that my cigarette is done and it is time to turn around.

I throw the butt on the ground, guilty until I remember

I am walking alongside a tobacco field.


Ashes to ashes, I guess.

You CAN go home again.


Warm muscles now burning in cold skin,

another old, familiar feeling.

Cold legs in worn jeans, warm lungs and brisk air.


I can’t believe I had forgotten this.


“the thing is”

the earliest beginning, a fibonacci spiral swril,

the same for a chicken or a whale

visualizing, craving, wishing


i want to let it go, to release this desire

a cramp in my marriage

i can’t, though

to me it would mean giving up on

a dream, a vision, a certainty


i feel empty, wrong, waiting

it is the worst kind of hope

hoping for a changed mind

hoping for a barrier failure

hoping for a mathematical miracle


it is wrecking me

who ever said hope was a good, strong thing?

i’m drowning in the feathers.


J. C. Vickery is a resident of Western Massachusetts. She has been published in Garbanzo Literary Journal, and pretty sure that 2013 is going to be her year.


Scroll to top