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February Ice Storm, a poem by Doris Lynch

February Ice Storm
by Doris Lynch

       Eighty-four years ago, your first--
another century, another world.
Horsecarts clattered over cobblestones,
fruit & vegetable men yodeled to housewives,
urging them to buy winter carrots and cabbages.
On Allegheny Avenue flappers wove,
their hair newly cropped, sequened dresses
shining with sun. Scarfs, capped
with fox faces, draped ivory necks.
Another February--your birthday--
you lie cocooned in a hospital bed
in Crystal River’s Emergency Room
across from the twin-headed nuclear
plant that buttresses the Gulf of Mexico
while a phone call away, Indiana
hail hisses and trucks disgorge
salt onto Highway 45.

There is no safety
for any of us: not drivers
skidding from tiger-stripe
to bike lane, not doctors
carefully scanning your MRI,
not black lab sprawled, legs akimbo
on glazed lawn beneath the lone cardinal
seeking shelter in crystalline hedgerow.

Ice comes from a mysterious place
called cloud, None of us can see through
or beyond it. But isn’t it enough when sky
timpanis music? That we tilt
faces up, mouths open
like baby starlings, and tiny shards
enter and melt on our tongues.

About Doris Lynch: She has work recently in the Tipton Poetry Journal, the Atlanta Review, Frogpond, Haibun Today, and Contemporary Haibun Online. The Indiana Arts Commission awarded her three individual artist’s grants: two in poetry and one in fiction.