Winner of the Kansas Poetry Month Contest, week two: snow and ice (amateur category)
Two of the boys dead before they graduated
high school. One shot by a pumpkin farmer saving
his Halloween crop on a cold October night.
The other killed when his horse threw him.
This boy, more animal than child, came to school
with dirty-faced brothers and sisters
on days when it was too cold in the unheated house
they called home.
The year before, when the snowstorm hit,
the kids slewed their eyes to the schoolhouse windows,
said I needed to let school out before we were snowed in.
I, too focused on the lessons, told them to pay attention
and forget about an early release.
Then the parent showed up at the door and pointed to my VW bug,
almost buried in white. She took the kids, I plowed through
the blizzard-hidden road ten miles to our little house in town.
We didn’t leave for days except for my husband’s treks
to the grocery store through the snow tunnel in the street,
where he filled a backpack with staples to see us through the siege.
— Diane Wahto
Diane Wahto’s poetry has been published in Midwest Quarterly, AID Review, and Coalition Connections: The Feminization of Poverty. Awards include the American Academy of Poets Award and the 2011 Salina Spring Reading Series New Voice Award. She lives in Wichita, Kansas with her husband and two dogs.