The night before my grandfather died
he said a snake was coming for him.
It was winter. The hospital room blank
as the inside of an egg.
The only color a cardinal, March-bright,
on the calendar, opposite his bed.
Turn it, he mouthed. We turned the pages.
A flock of seasons flew
in and out of the room.
Sparrow. Finch. Summer. Fall.
When we got to winter again my grandfather
screamed, The snake is coming.
There’s nothing there, we assured him.
The way my mom assured me
she would come back from each surgery,
even if the moon turned red, and the trees lost their leaves.
That night I dreamed we were riding
on the back of a silver python. Its bright muscles rose
up, then slid us away.
The next day my grandfather was dead.
Cleaning his room later, we found
the pages of the calendar fallen.
Why hadn’t I told him I saw it too?
The thing spinning us farther and farther
around the sun, away from each other,
was still there. Already,
winter was gone.
I picked up the remaining pages.
A paper-eyed swallow stared
out from the pink branch of April,
the last he would ever see of spring
filling the tiny room.
poetry appears, or is forthcoming, in several journals and magazines, most notably Blood Lotus, Blue Mesa Review, The Cincinnati Review, Hunger Mountain, Mid-America Review, Pirene’s Fountain, Poet Lore, Prairie Schooner, Radar, Rattle, and TinderBox. Her work has garnered several accolades, including the 2011 Robert and Adele Schiff Poetry Prize, and two nominations for a Pushcart Prize (one in 2012, the other in 2020). Her first manuscript, Pleasures of the Bear, was a finalist for prizes from both Moon City Press and Glass Lyre Press. It is still looking for a publisher.
Find her online at: www.thepoetrysalon.com