Pam Uschuk: "Another Easter Snowstorm"




Fire in the wood stove doesn’t snap so much

as whine against this April storm. 

I wince at chunks of snow clotting pines,

the vulnerable new leaves

of the copper rose.  Downstairs

La Virgen de Guadalupe smudges

Easter eve, rolls her  eyes

in disbelief at this surfeit of white.

Her memory fastens on

crucifix-shaped cacti, the thin arms

of the camposino with a machete

she blinded in a field of maguey.


Nose in his tail, the white wolf

is the question mark of a ghost

praying for the resurrection of the sun.

In his world there is no sin

to run from, just the body

and blood of the deer

wholly in his belly.  


Snow drops love notes from the dead

no one wants yet to open.   Did I ever feel

renewal at Easter or was it always

just another knock knock rabbit joke,

jelly beans, fake grass in baskets,

dyeing eggs, our arms and dog paws,

the only time besides Christmas

that Mom made us go to church? 


What I remember of redemption was ham

and new potatoes with dill, the funeral

smell of hyacinth and tulips

with their unyeilding lips, and the way

Christ’s wounds terrified the day,

the storm of  bloody thorns and nails

ordained by a father who thundered

punishment, not love.  I was confused

by the frail architecture of grace. 


I remember my grandma would slip

a twenty into my palm, feed

me chocolate-covered orange rinds,

tell me again about picking mushrooms

in the Carpathian Mountains, the way                                                                       

her mother’s eyes rolled after she ran

to the river to listen to gypsies sing,

and she’d have to confess to the priest

who would later try to rape her. 

When she told me she escaped, Easter

seemed almost real. 


Now, snow blinds the trees.  With

one eye on the wolf, we huddle

nearer the stove.  This morning

when the clouds finally lift, will we

see, what was behind sky’s intention

to transform, budding green?



Pam Uschuk is the author of five collections of poems, the latest, Crazy Love, published by Wings Press, and a chapbook, Pam Uschuk's Greatest Hits (Pudding House Press, 2009).   Her work has appeared widely in literary journals, including Poetry, Parnassus, Agni, Ploughshares, and others. Uschuk’s prizes include the Struga International Poetry Prize, as well as awards from the National League of American PEN Women, Simi Valley, Chester H. Jones Foundation, Iris, Ascent, and Amnesty International.  She is also Editor In Chief of Cutthroat, A Journal of the Arts.