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poem love memory
Original artwork by Ellery Harkness

Now That the Ground

Sandra Kolankiewicz

Snow arrived when we were sleeping,

dusted the back yard white,

covered the places we played so hard we

wore the grass down to dirt.

The split rail fence we walked when no one was

looking now a thick horizontal line

of frost parallel with the speckled ground.

I listened to your message from the facility

where they say you aren’t locked up

though you’ve no car, no money,

not a single person to seriously consider your

need to flee when all think you’re better off where

you are, some even paying for you to be there.

You are grateful for my note, you say, and the

photograph of my mother the year you met her,

tucked inside the card like a present I hoped

would not confuse and lead you down a

twisted path of memory to nowhere,

which is what appears to have happened as you say

you’ll race today, sure you’ll beat your last

ski jump record, especially since winter

has arrived at the place you insisted you

wanted to be, sure one more snowfall

would make you happy now that my

mother’s dead but not yet laid to rest,

filling a series of brass urns, one of them

mine to be emptied into a small hole I’ll dig

beside my father’s grave, leaving that slight

part of her with him, the widow that married

again, come back to rest, soon to be indistinguishable

from the earth I’ll pour her into, then

cover with a blanket of soil, but not until

spring now that the ground is frozen.