[originally published in:

Compass Roads
Poems about the Pioneer Valley

Straw Dog Writers Guild Poetry Anthology
Edited by Jane Yolen

ISBN 978-1-945473-56-2 | April, 2018]


The Ark:  Winter in Whately

Clean, cold and simple.
Interrupted only by two dogs
Standing nose-to-nose,
Tails like apostrophes,
No line between
White roofs white sky.

Frustrated cats
Cling to the curtains and cry.
Windows frame a vague
Grey and white desolation.
It seeps and steams,
Churns the yard to mud,
Turns back into ice at midnight.

You come home in a cloud,
Dark voice rolling
Through the fog.
Your boots leave little fleurs de lis
Behind you on the floor.
The cats run madly
In and out the door.

I chop and peel and bake,
Press a bandaid on
Your cut thumb.
Our solemn faces assemble
Around the sacrificial roast,
And the wine shines glassy,
Giant teardrop.

Shutters rattle,
Flat smacks of syncopated wet wood.
We keep close to the fire,
The heart of the hive.
Nights fall behind,
Nowhere is a twinge
Of green to be seen.

I hear you moving
Heavily about the house.
Sometimes it snakes around me,
Then you are silent too long…
I strain to catch a creak.
You are putting up shelves.
I constantly clean up the trail.

We stop in the hall and kiss:
You said, it was my flashy eyes.

by Gail Cleare - 2015 – Whately, MA






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