Safeway, parking lot, 5:25 p.m.
By Hannah Six
An achingly cold January evening--
frigid, though, thankfully,
no ice on the potholed gravel pavement.
The slice and tang of ice in my nose
snaps, like whiplash,
forcing my attention
to that moment when I--
groceries stowed, hatchback firmly latched closed--
A summer-lover by nature, I have,
with some effort (born of a certain brand of seasonal desperation)
trained my eye to forage
for random, tender bits of beauty
among the long, barren, leafless eastern winters...
So that now, glancing up, I am taken
by the way those stark Maple branches, silhouetted in black against
the remnants of sunset,
criss-cross the horizon,
clipping the bruised sky into gradient ribbons
of magenta, of rose, of clementine,
and (yes) lime green,
through ever-deepening hues of
velvety Prussian and sapphire blue.
My fingers curl against the
pleasantly scratchy wool mitts I knitted last April.
Venus teases and blinks.
I smile, and hunch my shoulders
against an onslaught of shivers.
Then, with a premonition of distant nostalgia,
I tuck this moment away for safekeeping,
and turn toward home.