By John Dorroh
The first snow is pretty – virgin flakes whispering
through cold air, cascading from billowy, gray clouds,
landing gently on barren ground, fresh, mesmerizing,
hopeful, promises (leaving a film of anticipation)
Sadly, it loses its beauty.
She grew up in snow, clutched
by its cold, blue talons; favored by wise owls
perched high on branches of steadfast trees
vowed to escape,
migrate to a place where palm fronds
crackle in her ears like thick crepe paper,
skin drying in the sun; access to a shimmering
pool with diamonds 364 days a year.
Desensitized at 35, nerve endings frayed
beyond repair. Warm hugs can’t undo the damage;
it is not a soldering project.
Roots run deep into clay hearts, their tendrils,
carcinogenic rhizomes leaching acids into microscopic
nooks and crannies, a ravenous matrix of nourishment
for determined weeds that survive Winter’s grip,
strangling its victim between breaths while she lies
in the dark waiting for sleep.
She grew up in ice, too difficult to thaw in a single