February 8, 2010

Martha Modena Vertreace-Doody

DRIVING UNDER THE FULL WOLF MOON

The car grows colder with each no-turn-over
the engine gives to your key—
                                              this—and snow
scatters like rags across the parking lot kept bright all day
with our headlights.
                               A hook-and-ladder wails
down Woodlawn Avenue chasing fire which waits for the end

to come one way or another.
                               Wind chill factor. Eggnog lattes.
Some nights I lie next to you
as you sleep, your eyelids flutter like butterflies
over zinnias in our summer garden.
But in January, the Wolf Moon,
                                             the Snow Moon, lurks

behind the honey locust, his gold
                              melting on us between thin slats

of the half-open blinds.
Rain darkens the firs where we wait for a jump—drizzle
late afternoon into the evening,
                              then wet snow. Wind
in the Christmas lights still hanging off the church roof—

the days beyond winter solstice
last longer. You wonder why rain
                                              does not clean our car,
just redefines the dirt streaks. I tell you about salt, oil, wax—
the whole nine yards of ways
                              we invent to kill each other.

from Rattle #31, Summer 2009
Tribute to African American Poets