Such a never-ending winter, these months
of snow and ice and gloom. We’ve lost
long hours again today, pushing back
last night’s leaden blanket of wet white,
mounding piles shoulder-high, towering
till they avalanche as if to mock our labors.
The wind whips our cheekbones red
and wet and raw, my wife and I,
our shovels lufting slush, lungs puffing
huffs and grunts . . . when, within a waking dream,
she says, That sugar-white beach
in Isla Mujeres, remember? I nod,
a touch of warmth, a blush, floods over me,
a smile. Side-by-side we replay these memories,
wordlessly, relishing not just the mind’s rescue
but something bone-deep having bubbled up
like steaming waters from the earth’s core.
And I remember, as a kid, that same sensation,
a resurrection out of the depths of near hopelessness,
our schoolyard in late March beginning to thaw.
One brown patch of lawn opened where snows had receded,
and we gathered there all recess, huddled in awe.
Lowell Jaeger (Montana Poet Laureate 2017-2019) is founding editor of Many Voices Press, author of seven collections of poems, recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Montana Arts Council, and winner of the Grolier Poetry Peace Prize. Most recently Jaeger was awarded the Montana Governor’s Humanities Award for his work in promoting thoughtful civic discourse.