Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


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.

Credit


"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.

Author


Elaine Terranova

Born in 1939, Elaine Terranova was selected by Rita Dove for the 1990 Walt Whitman Award for her debut collection The Cult of the Right Hand

Date Published: 2006-01-01

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/return-winter