Prairie Poetry   

Real seasons, my stepmom says,
I need real seasons. This means
the hungry bite of winter,
an eviscerating cold you
have to endure to understand.
She soldiers into winter,
marching in snowboots,
fitted out in scarves and
smart wool coats with brass buttons.
It will not get the best of her.
She will light this time
with church fairs, weddings,
car trips to Minneapolis
during the white-outs,
skating blind as my father
on those ruler-straight highways.
She will brave the night ice
to look at the stars.
She will snap the season in half
like an icicle with Christmas Eve.
While I sleep in the
temperate December of Oregon,
they will gather together
in a prairie home.
They will open their gifts
from me, Pendleton scarves,
slippers, woolen throws
for their cold shoulders.
Modest appreciation of modest gifts,
nods, snack, hot drinks,
no effusion, derision, or glee.
In the glow of a prairie kitchen
she and my father
will rally the children of
her brothers and sisters.
Heads together, concentrating,
waging war with die and markers,
they will play until dawn,
while the winter howls, shut out,
not invited to the table.

  Karen Berry
  Copyright © 2004 Karen Berry
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