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  • Rachel Welcher



Winter asks too much of me
when she lingers, icy fingers
gripping the shoots of eager
new trees, telling them to wait,
to be still and stay frozen in time
until she is finished with her
nitrogen infusion, her crystal
song and dance; her long-haul
February. In California, the
mustard is already shocking
each vineyard with yellow in
between rows of gnarled vines
and future grapes. But here in
South Dakota, we wait under a
blanket of snow. We wear out
our wool socks and the tread on
our winter boots. We run out of
soup. We run out of bingeable
Netflix series. We stop watering
our indoor plants and taking our
vitamins. Even cozying up under
a quilt with hot tea loses its magic.

I know somewhere out there,
in the country or in the trailer
park, some kid is still getting a
kick out of making snowmen
from this icy slush, delighted
to find bare branches to use as
gangly arms, moldy acorns for
buttons, and someone’s lost
necklace chain to form a crooked
smile, but all I can ask myself is
whether or not it is possible
to forgive a season.

Cover image by Peter Zhang.


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