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Winter, Mississippi

          "Rare Winter Tornadoes Sweep Through South"
                                            —ABC News Headline

Here it is, not even February, and the boy
is going sockless, the birds are shrieking

with June-hot abandon, the sun is sincere
against the blue blue sky. Most days I forget

my coat and don't go back, while up north
the clouds are the color of the interstate.

In my hometown, heads are bent against gales,
cars are coughing into frosted mornings.

Down here we're crocus-blessed.
So I know not to complain. But I feel

each sprig of green like a needle. This
singing winter is an unhinged sweetheart—

all gloss and lilt, until the shift. Then
the temperature drops like a downed limb,

and there's vengeance, sucking up livestock
and pines into a sky suddenly gone

smoke-gray and whirling. I won't be sugar-
talked by the warmth. My red sundress

sparks in the closet like a warning flare.
Each day I wait for the blue to vanish

into a vacuum where no birds bother.

Catherine Pierce


Fall 2013

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