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


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