Karen Whittington Nelson writes poetry and fiction from her home on a small Southeastern Ohio farm. Her work can be found in I Thought I Heard a Cardinal Sing: Ohio’s Appalachian Voices, Sheila-Na-Gig Online, Northern Appalachia Review, Women Speak, Volumes 2–8, Anthology of Appalachian Writers, Gyroscope Review and Pudding Magazine. Poetry is forthcoming in Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel.
I watch you squint through the icy window pane,
scan the rows of dormant vehicles on the lot below.
Last night’s storm has transformed the cars into
snow-capped hay bales wintering in a fallow field.
Your shoulders relax as you make out the cookie-cutter
outline of your old VW, nudged only slightly askew
by the snow plow. And here I am,
wrapped in this unknown hour, munching cold pizza,
sipping warm beer, longing for a green promise
to poke through a sidewalk, the whiff of earthworms,
the warmth of yellow.
But I’d settle for the frig to stir with a hum, its siesta over,
a confirmation that our lives, too, will soon reboot.
Married last June, ours an experiment in collaboration.
We proved our hypothesis wrong; two can’t live as cheaply as one.
Tuition’s due, rent’s past. You turn from the window,
your backlit silhouette a gray-on-gray apparition;
an unseen smile floating upon your words, “Perhaps this storm
is the lost wedding gift that never arrived. Now that it’s here,
how ’bout we unwrap it, prolong this alternative universe a bit longer
while we wait for the world to catch its breath.