The Woman Who Carried Winter
Gray-white sky hangs from oaks.
Snowing for the third day straight,
and now she stares out into the cold.
Tiny ice flakes barely visible from
where she stands, feeling her body
change. Her blood congeals, ponytail
stiffens in the dry air. She has hiked
from the river, up steep banks,
gripped the railing of a gray steel bridge.
Silence surrounds her.
The town has shrunk to a knot, a fist.
Nothing moves. Along the roadway
gas stations, fast food joints empty,
even chimney smoke
absent from this illusion of afternoon.
In her head, music clinking —
a xylophone or bells,
or ice crystals shaken from pines.
Tonight, in darkness, she will join a chorus
of shadows, a choir versed in hymns of stone.
Steve Klepetar has recently moved to the Berkshires, in Massachusetts after many years in Minnesota. His work has appeared widely and has been nominated for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize, including three nominations in 2017. Recent collections include “A Landscape in Hell,” “How Fascism Comes to America,” and “Why Glass Shatters.”