January 9, 2012

Susan L. Helwig

WHAT NEED OR DUTY

What need or duty makes me
leave our warm bed with you
put on cold 4 a.m. clothes
heat coffee, fill the flask
don more clothes
boots, mitts, muffler, toque
scarcely feel a farewell embrace
stand and watch, shovel ready
as you smash down the lane
catching in drift after drift
backing up and trying again
backing up and trying again
finally clearing the last windrow
turning onto the main road

What makes me cry
offer my thanks
look up to the heavens
and there are all the stars.

from Rattle #35, Summer 2011
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