Below zero

Snow I have always

been thankful for your expunging

whiteout

how you take dirt

and suffocate it

beneath insistent layers

the wild and untame methods of your

settling, blown like befuddled

birds in all direction, swirling in

lost echo, falling eventually to

sugar-coat the dim world brighter

as pipes fail, their fragile egg shells

bloated with trapped water

a parallel I think

to our own shuttered lives

When I was a child I would

be told

do not go out in the snow for long

you will catch your death

and I hoped

very much

that were true

for to sleep

a red rose in bosom of white

I could fancy in my child’s mind

no greater perishment

though fancy and its

myriad ways of suggesting

death

grow less appealing

the older we get

Now I avoid slipping on ice

for fear of crushing my elbow into

shards like my father did

I see in the distance

my grandmother’s dog

he is trying to eat snow flakes

and puzzled when they melt

barks into whiskering storm

I think he speaks for us all

in this grand illusion

half wanting to be

taken off by encompassing whorls

carried to ice palace

where surely the meaning of

everything can be found

along with my mittens I lost

in tenth grade

stooping down to place

the cherry in

my snow robins

breast

11 thoughts on “Below zero

  1. The visuals throughout the poem are ways to experience depths of nostalgia but I love these lines:

    “I see in the distance

    my grandmother’s dog

    he is trying to eat snow flakes

    and puzzled when they melt

    barks into whiskering storm

    I think he speaks for us all

    in this grand illusion

    half wanting to be

    taken off by encompassing whorls

    carried to ice palace

    where surely the meaning of

    everything can be found”

    This is a delightful poem, Candice. It truly express Winter for some of us.

  2. How is it I make strange connection
    Memory floods from long ago
    A young cat’s first snow
    Wide eyed in the doorway
    At its world so changed
    The tentative step
    One paw into the new thing
    Step back
    Shake it off
    Taste
    Step out
    Two paws
    Then four
    A leap and pounce
    Hunter in a new element

  3. Beautifully expressed, Candice: the change that age brings in us; the shattering of dreams and the realisation that, beneath the crisp, clean beauty of the snow, lies nothing but mud and disappointment.

  4. Thank you so much. I think I write a lot about ageing despite not being ‘there’ yet because it’s something that seems to really happen with living and yet people seem not to want to focus on it which I find odd!

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