Academic journal article The Virginia Quarterly Review

Spring Ice Storm

Academic journal article The Virginia Quarterly Review

Spring Ice Storm

Article excerpt

The forecast had not predicted it,

and its beginning, a calming, rumbled dusk

and pleasant lightning, she welcomed as harbinger

of rain. Then as night came she heard the world

relapse, slide backward into winter's insistent

tick and hiss. In the morning, she woke to a powerless

house, the baseboards cold, the sky blank,

mercury hardfallen as the ice and fixed

even at noon. The woodpile on the porch dwindled

to its last layer; she had not replenished it

for a month and could see beyond it windblown ice

in the shed where the ax angled Excalibur-like,

frozen in the wood. Still, she didn't worry

beyond the fate of the daffodils, green-sheathed,

the forsythia and quince already bloomed out

knowing this couldn't last. But by afternoon

she did begin feeding the fire in the cast-iron

stove ordinary things she thought she could replace,

watching through the small window of isinglass

the fast-burning wooden spoons, picture frames,

then the phone book and stack of old almanacs

forgotten predictions and phases of the moon-

before resorting to a brittle wicker rocker,

quick as dried grass to catch, bedframes and slats,

ladder-back chairs, the labor of breaking them up

against the porch railing its own warming. …

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