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Demeter without Her Spring

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When white winter flakes fumble from the sky,
know that somewhere, a mother’s tears dangle
on grim tree stems, on narrow roof rims,
for she has no shoulder to soak in the ache,
to pad her old lids.

The always sullen sky storms without much care,
and the proud sun simply pouts, like a boy, when clouds fog his light.
Others sit in their cabins near their blazing wonder
and drink warm, as the wind outside wails on.

‘Tis a season when birds no longer crow
in their nests. Baby yips that once swelled the honey air
with longing songs now glide high to escape
the mother’s frigid woe. Children

who played, now trudge in the white snow and burrow
their pink faces into home-knit scarves. The wool flaps
in the breeze behind them, waving valiantly towards home,
waving because children are too stiff when marching to school.

Everything seems to fall far, the mother notes bitterly,
as the trees that caught her tears bend under the wind,
as the grass disappears under white sheets.
The gopher had already ducked under dirt early,

and she, who elicited her smile in the sweet lilac air,
had descended into Hades’ realm, early—
her golden hair dulled, her eyes clouded, her skin like a ghost veil,
tucked away like a crushed flower under the ice.

Perhaps she is cawing with the hateful creature now,
maybe she sees the dead violet skin with some glow of warmth,
the upturned thin lips and coarse teeth glaring off her pristine eyes.
But how likely is that when there are no perennials

to catch her phantom steps? When there are no
clouds of big men dotting the wide, perhaps pure, sky?
When there is nothing but the detestable he,
and everything but the wallowing she? A mother knows better.

So when white winter flakes fumble from the sky
know that somewhere, a mother is crying, waiting and wanting
to feel the same silent blizzard as hell,
to have her washed-out fingers turn numb,
so that she can be a mother, from afar, as well.





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