Beatrice Lazarus: “Mid-Winter”




We hear the rustle of pines, the hidden
desire of trees to please like mothers,
standing steadfast all seasons
as if reminding us to not forget.
Cones rattle as a snow owl alights,
the cold air stirring our winter breath.
The pale sky constricts like pupils
as starlings vanish with their songs,
the autumn of our lives washed away.

On our walk, whispers drift
like snow piled on our doorstep,
as I turn, distracted by your tropical
words, to button up your coat just as the light
closes down and the swollen sky releases
a galaxy of snow—wild and winged,
priming the coldest days ahead.

We walk into the landscape, its old marriage
of seasons, past the grief of leafless
winter. How bright even without color,
this bridal whiteness we boot through,
luminescent telltale dust in our hair,
its swirling crystals of memory. Our faces tilt up,
as if trying to learn the language of the heavens
heaping its snow everywhere—scintillant, pure—
like lovely ghosts we take into our arms.

We pass another pine cut down
for flashing bulbs and tinsel.
A deer moves stealthily around the fallen
trunk, flicking its frost-white tail
as if a memory had been uncovered.
Snow darkens the stump that we scratch hearts into
as a way of saying I love you I want you to stay.
Let us remember this moment:
A sense in the air of quiet
alarm—a great falcon, its sound building in waves
toward a fallen nest, an intimate world
we cannot enter.



Beatrice Lazarus’s work appears in Water-Stone Review, The MacGuffin, The Lyric, Sou’wester, Pearl, Briar Cliff Review, Poem, The Iconoclast, Plainsongs, Sierra Nevada Review, and Creative Nonfiction, among others. She won the 2013 Briar Cliff Review Poetry Prize. Her poetry was published in Hope Street: Nine New England Poets (Main Street Rag). Lazarus is the editor of Lay Bare the Canvas: New England Poets on Art and The Loft Anthology.

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