Monday, February 11, 2008

Minnesota is Weather

This year autumn is burning
into the edge of winter.
October so warm
natives keeep short pants
handy in the closet.
Whole days like Easter:
golden mornings,
gala afternoons,
the prairie dried into a panorama
of its summer color
and moons -
moons that stop your heart.

Cedar waxwings and robins
migrating together
but there are fewer of them
gorging on the tiny crab apples
and the delicate monarchs
on their odyssey to Mexico,
are smaller.
Is this the year of warnings:
pandemic influenza?

Here in our northern state -
warmth, color, melting breezes?
We're not accustomed to nature pampering us.
Hopeful we scan the weather screen:
snow, ice, thermometers below zero,
these are comforting seasonal familiars.
Is summer pushing into winter our catastrophe?

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Winter Stitchery

Then I headed out leaving lazy daisy footprints
across park snow, dressed in blanket pants,
three pairs of socks, holding the impossible
secondhand skates, scarf tight as a French knot,
cap stitched to brow. Saturday afternoon,
flakes big as feathers sifting through
buttonholes in branches, herringbone of brush
tangles and the scissor legs of skaters.
The warming house smells of wet wool, wood smoke,
popcorn, hot chocolate, shoes chucked under benches.
Lacing on the liberty of blades and sailing
to the generous music, working through my ice patterns:
racing, dreaming, turning, weaving backwards,
holding hands, cracking the whip. Toes turn to iron,
cheeks to satin, trees fade into darkness
and I home to steam dry.

Now, the long and short of it,
I still enjoy a running stretch on ice,
freedom from the chain of heel and sole.
My skates are tailored, my car snow banked.
The suspicious adult who skates alone,
outlining the old dreams on a lake
where trees cross-stitch the ice to sky,
breathing wood smoke, vender treats,
feeling the good cold, knotting up time
for an afternoon,

Winter Poetry

February Sunday

Children are "down" for their naps.
The men are driving over a frozen lake
to fish through the hard ice.
In this house
dust hangs in beams of sunlight.
A car goes by
engine humming over icy streets
snow covered lawns.
My world breathes with the sleeping children.
Ghosts are quiet.
Sun is a narrowing parallelogram
on the painted wall.