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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 11: January 2022
Poem: 142 words
+ Photograph: Visual Art
By Janet McMillan Rives

In the Dead of Winter 1944

—after “The Birthday Interviews” by Derrick Austin

World War II Ration Books: Photograph by Janet McMillan Rives
World War II Ration Books (Photograph, November 2021)

Copyrighted © by Janet McMillan Rives. All rights reserved.

Bitter cold the day of my birth, just a week 
after a Connecticut blizzard left the driveway blocked 
by three feet of snow, Dad having to walk two miles 
to campus, then half the class, mostly coeds, 
taking the day off to go sledding down Horsebarn Hill. 

The war was getting old on the day of my birth, 
everyone sick of young men dying far from home, 
yet no end in sight. Would the Luftwaffe bomb 
the Pratt Whitney factory twenty-five miles away? 
Could anyone ever stop Hitler? 

Even before we came home from the hospital, 
Mother was worrying about ration stamps, 
never enough flour or sugar or milk these days 
and now another child. Not a joyous time, 
the day of my birth, but I was optimistic. 



Author’s Note:

At Poets dot org: the poem by Derrick Austin was originally published in Poem-a-Day on May 4, 2021, by the Academy of American Poets.

Janet McMillan Rives
Issue 11, January 2022

was born in and raised in Connecticut. When she was in high school, her family moved to Arizona, and she currently lives in Tucson. After teaching for 35 years, she retired as Professor Emerita of Economics from the University of Northern Iowa. Her poems have appeared in The Avocet, Lyrical Iowa, Raw Art Review, The Ekphrastic Review, Beyond Words, Heirlock, Sandcutters, The Blue Guitar, Unstrung, and Fine Lines and in a number of anthologies, most recently Voices from the Plains IV and The Very Edge. Her first chapbook, Into This Sea of Green: Poems from the Prairie, was published in 2020.

Author’s website: https://www.janetmrives.com

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