Philadelphia, February

by Catherine Zickgraf

Sure the melting snow refroze midstream
on the rock wall rising beside the Schuylkill.
Night sunk the temperature, paused the waterfall,
left the ice hanging like ruffles from crossed knees.
Indeed, steep rows of black feet wait
to toss their shoes into traffic.
The road is bending around the hills,
below it white stones roll, crash into the river.

It’s winter. We must accept the harsh air.
Like our fierce lure toward fire:
its beauty draws us in just to burst our lips.
Trees climb the slopes toward Manayunk.
Trunks turn to branches, to sticks, to twigs—
they frizz over mounded curves of hills.
Compressed sparks of snow crust over and
lay like a scalp between wood poles of hair.

Catherine Zickgraf is a former (American) Northerner excited about growing her roots into the red Georgia clay. Her most recent credits include a forthcoming poem in Journal of the American Medical Association‘s “Poetry and Medicine” section.

Back to Issue Two: Winter 2009