The Children Know All about Snow
The snows this winter seethe.They stand in dark drifts as tall as a man.They eat the light.Marooned indoors, the children playby the window little games to pass the time:Old Maid, pinochle, whist. A night like this,the cold has weight. Branches groan beneath it.Ice creaks, too thick to crack.The snow falls clean and sharp,slicing sideways into anything alive.Small shadows edge the tree line—mink or skunk, seeking shelter from the wind.Inside, the fire blazes, candy glitters in a leaded dish.Dolls, rocking chair, checkerboardseem part of a slow explosion.Everything moves without moving.In the glass, each child has a twinalready standing on drifts, beckoning, beckoning them.Don't go outside, they imploreone another. We would have to kissblack blooms from your cheeks. We wouldhave to remove the dear perishedfingers and toes. But the snows, the snowsbeg to be tramped, to be flattened to angels,rolled into balls. The children are putting onfur-lined gloves, woolen scarves.They are grasping the hemsof stiff overcoats and won't let them go.Don't cry, they absolve. Don't you know?When it's cold enough, the cold burns.One by one, the children slip out the door.They know when it's their turn,it's their turn.
Copyright © 2021 by Rebecca Cross.
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission.
Rebecca Cross has an MA in creative and critical writing from the University of Sussex. Her work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in The Southern Review, Southern Humanities Review, Hotel Amerika, Quarterly West, Poet Lore, Beloit Poetry Journal, and Image, among other journals, and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net, and Best New Poets. She lives in Vermont with her husband and their cat. Though she doesn’t tweet often, she can be contacted on Twitter at @uncertainguest.
Southern Humanities Review is the literary quarterly published from the Department of English at Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama. Founded in 1967, SHR publishes fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.
Work published in Southern Humanities Review is considered for Best American Essays, Best American Poetry, Best American Short Stories, New Stories from the South, Prize Stories: O. Henry Awards, and the Pushcart Prize.