The Apostrophe Blog
Photo by Steve Felix
My poem, “Record-breaking Winter Storm Tableau,” was featured in the April 2023 edition of Concordia News, the monthly neighborhood newsletter. A PDF version of the newsletter is here: concordiapdx.org/concordia-news/concordia-news-downloads.
The italicized lines in this poem are from Emily Dickinson’s poem #257, “I’ve known a Heaven, like a Tent —.”
Record-breaking Winter Storm Tableau
late February 2023
It bore the ice, later snow,
that terra cotta table of stone.
Became perch for chickadees,
bushtits and meadowlarks before
their launch to suet, to safflower seed.
Even the hummingbirds gave up
their rivalries, took civilized turns
sipping at the iridescent ruby
bottle I took in after dark
so it wouldn’t freeze then break.
The previously perky hellebores
collapsed under eight inches
of weight. One afternoon, sleet
fell slick, thickly dimensional,
bouncing from the wind chimes,
from lustrous camellia leaves.
Now finally today—
a temporary melt, no trace, no figment
of the thing that dazzled yesterday.
The neighborhoodmurder of crows
is back from days in their downtown
overnight roost. There’s a junco spilling
the birdbath, a plash of oars, a gaiety
and every tulip has emerged, doubled
in height in spite of the ongoing,
unseasonable chill. Inside, I raise
the thermostat one more degree,
study the fleetingreturn ofthe sun.
The world it glares, for a moment
all shimmer and drip, while waiting
for another inevitable cloudburst
to roll down from heaven like a tent.
We are blanketed by our selfishness,
our apathy, our sin. We are footprints
in our downfall—watch them drift.