Thursday, December 19, 2019

Letting Go

The sun is finally out, it’s warm at 44 degrees, and I feel rotten.

The boys are coming over to watch the Super Bowl. Six towering teens slender as grass and restless, ready to spring into some new life. It may be the last time they are all here together.

Of course, it’s Max in particular I grieve. He got accepted at a college nearby—impossible for us to afford. Nevertheless. It speaks of other potential admissions, much farther away.

Do all mothers dread this moment? My son has been the greatest joy of my life.

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Subnivium: A Poem

My teen-aged son is taking a creative writing course.  He brings home an excerpt from Richard Hugo’s Triggering Towns, about the nature of poetry, how the lines first drape themselves on a something concrete and then deepen or expand beyond the initial subject.

My son thinks this assignment will be easy. Now he’s on a deadline: it’s nine o’clock and the assignment has to be turned in by midnight. I want to help but now I too feel crunched for time.

I can’t help you, I tell him. It’s up to you.

Nevertheless, I read the excerpt, enjoy its crisp remarks on the writing of poetry.

The next morning, I’m flipping through the Minnesota Conservation Volunteer, a popular Minnesota DNR publication. A sidebar title catches my eye: Subnivium.

I read the sidebar, and feel prompted to write.  Here’s what comes out.  I think it has something to do with climate change, among other things.

Subnivium: "Under Snow"

—A seasonal refuge between snowpack and ground)

This is a temporary refuge

for small soft mammals, relaxed in their busy tunnels,

unaware of the keen red fox plunging black feet first

into the white powder--emerging with a snack

wriggling between its long teeth--

Meanwhile, our clattering cars spew gray blankets

of exhaust, too hot for the season;

ice crystals unhitch their clasped hands

and tunnels collapse.

The vole crouches, naked and ridiculous,

eyes locked on a vast shadow cruising across the sky.

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