Our neighbor tells me it dropped for days
until even the sun could not lift the mercury
from cold, but today all the black squirrels sit
on haunches munching morsels unearthed, robins
step the yards like kings eyeing court favorites
and cardinals trumpet encouragement from the trees
to every living thing that has failed to notice—the warmth,
the crocus, the daffodils, the laid off who stare from curtains,
unconvinced. All afternoon I wait and I watch this space.
One by one, neighbors arrive home from work, open windows
to let the breeze chatter the blinds. They shirk from Carhartts,
kick off boots and sit stoops and lawn chairs in the day’s heat.
Yes, such balm might only be for today, but it’s ours.
~ Laura Madeline Wiseman
From An Apparently Impossible Adventure (BlazeVOX [books] 2016).
First appeared (as “First Thaw”) in Sugar Mule, Issue 41, 2012
Laura Madeline Wiseman is the author of 25 books and chapbooks and the editor of Women Write Resistance, selected for the Nebraska 150 Booklist. Her collaborative book Intimates and Fools is a Nebraska Book Award 2015 Honor Book. Her latest book is Velocipede. She teaches at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
William Sheldon lives in Hutchinson, Kansas where he teaches and writes. His poetry and prose have been published widely in such journals as Blue Mesa Review, Columbia, New Letters, and Prairie Schooner. He is the author of two books of poetry, Retrieving Old Bones (Woodley, 2002) and Rain Comes Riding (Mammoth, 2011), as well as a chapbook, Into Distant Grass (Oil Hill, 2009). Retrieving Old Bones was a Kansas City Star Noteworthy Book for 2002 and is listed as one of the Great Plains Alliance’s Great Books of the Great Plains.