Return to Winter
That day the starlings didn't eat. That day was a sudden return to winter. In the fields, snow on a base of ice. The birds couldn't bear to set down except on the clear face of the road they remembered. My husband leaned on the horn the way you lean on a railing until they lifted before the unstoppable metal. I pushed into the floorboard as if I were doing the driving, as if I could halt the laws of physics, while somewhere, my brother's chest rose and sunk and rose. So much you take for granted, like going to sleep in spring that you will wake in spring. That the blossoms were right to push out, there was no contradiction. But when we hit the slick and slammed hard against our own forward motion, the roadbank spun and the orchard of stunted trees that had just begun to soften.
"Return to Winter" from Not To: New & Selected Poems, published by The Sheep Meadow Press. Copyright © 2006 by Elaine Terranova. Used by permission. All rights reserved.