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
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.