The Archives of Winter

by Ryan W. Bradley


I remember the snow
over the front door
and tunneling out
through the yard
like a prison escape

watching the older kids
disappear into the glacier
between the house
and the street

cars could go nowhere
even if you found them.


We rode in kick-sleds
down the streets of slush
with Mom pushing and kicking
and the air fighting
to reach our skin protected
by the armor of down coats
knit hats, gloves, and scarves.


We jumped out of the hayloft
into the snowbanks underneath

our faces stung red
from the cold rush of air

our feet never touched the ground
suspended by the weather
and we climbed the ladder
in the barn again and again.


Our faces were whitewashed
on the playground by older kids

our faces were whitewashed
outside the house by our sisters

our faces were scraped
by the ice like battle wounds

until the wind hurt like small cuts
turning us inside out.

Ryan W. Bradley is currently working on his MFA in creative writing from Pacific University. His poetry and fiction has been published or is forthcoming in The Oregonian, A Thousand Faces, Third Wednesday, Yippee Magazine, and Gander Press Review. He lives in Southern Oregon with his wife and two sons and blogs at

Back to Issue Two: Winter 2009