Cruel Winter by Emily Benson

A brutal winter

The locals all agree

Trudging flat-eyed

Across the thick crust of snow

Local once

Before I simmered

Under the Texas Sun

Baking like a little lizard

On the rocks along the Colorado

While sage and cedar perfumed my lungs

I am raw now

Hollowed out by bitter cold

The warmth slipped from me

("lost the baby" like I was careless)

With pain that left me shaking

Improbable life

Accepted without grace

Nurtured with worry

Ending in wracking sobs

On yet another night

When I could see my breath

And taste snow on the air

Metallic like blood

Like a knife blade

Like the residue of the cap

On the lip of a beer bottle

I am flattened by the trivial

This persistent cough

Broken glasses

Chapped lips and early mornings

The car battery done in by

A hundred-and-three to subzero in half a year

I am too

I'd follow if I could

My face feels smaller in my hands

As I stand too long under the hot shower

Wishing I could implode

Into the pinprick of nothing

Where all the good things have gone

Those little bottles in the cabinet there

Appealing but for the mess

All my mistakes I'd leave behind

Broken bits to be swept up

By those who still need me

So I do my best

Make the sandwiches

Wash the clothes

breathe my son's fresh washed hair

Let my heart ache

Believe in spring